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The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua still has space open–sign up now!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is right around the corner, coming up June 14–16, 2019.

Bullock’s Oriole. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year’s program has a whopping 106 events—field trips, presentations, workshops, and more. And there’s still space in 62 of those events! More than 275 people have already signed up, and we expect many more (more…)

Birds galore in the Mono Basin

Thursday, May 9th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On Saturday, May 4, I participated in the eBird Global Big Day, which encourages birders around the world to contribute to citizen science efforts by birding and entering checklists into eBird on a single day.

Green-tailed Towhee singing from a pinyon pine. Photo by Nora Livingston.

I decided to use this Big Day as a chance to scout my local hotspots and catch up with migration. In the past two weeks, neotropical migrants have been moving north to their breeding grounds, so there have been new species arriving daily. As the (more…)

A growing problem for California Gulls: Invasive weed rapidly encroaches on nesting habitat

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Last century’s water diversions from the Mono Basin greatly changed the ecosystem of Mono Lake, and that legacy continues to test successive generations of California Gulls. A falling lake level, the first emergence of the landbridge in 1979, coyotes crossing to Negit Island, and gulls abandoning their once-secure breeding colony—these were tragic events. California Gulls (Larus californicus) became one of the rallying points for saving Mono Lake, and while the colony suffered, the birds adapted and shifted nesting to the newly-emerged islets adjacent to Negit that provided refuge from coyotes because they were still surrounded by water.

By 2018, Bassia hyssopifolia had spread rapidly on the Negit Islets, significantly reducing California Gull nesting habitat. Photo courtesy of Kristie Nelson.

Challenges stack up

Because of lake level fluctuations the coyote problem never completely went away, and even (more…)

Register today for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Sunday, April 21st, 2019 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Registration for the eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua (June 14–16, 2019) is now open, and there are more than 75 programs with space available, including field trips, presentations, and workshops.

Lazuli Buntings are one of the birds you could spot at this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year we’ve added several new trips that still have space, including Birding the Lee Vining Creek Trail, Fire by friction, Wing beats around the basin, and Birding Bohler Canyon after the fire. We’re also offering a “big sit” on Saturday and Sunday morning during which the group will sit in one spot with a variety of habitats and identify all the birds that come through. (more…)

Phalaropes in focus

Monday, April 8th, 2019 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Migrating phalaropes are a summer phenomenon to behold at Mono Lake. When tens of thousands of them arrive they gather and flock—weaving like schools of aerial fish, erupting from and falling to the surface of the lake in giant tornadoes.

Phalaropes in flight over Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Rick Kattelmann.

Wilson’s and Red-necked phalaropes are shorebirds that rely on alkali fly larvae at Mono Lake in order to molt and double their weight in preparation for migration to South America. These graceful (more…)

2019 Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua programs now online

Friday, March 22nd, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Registration for the eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is less than a month away, beginning at 6:30am PDT on Monday, April 15, 2019.

Black-billed Magpie. Photo by Nora Livingston.

The full schedule of field trips, presentations, and workshops is now online, including the grid schedule, which shows (more…)

Mono Lake Field Seminars open to non-members starting tomorrow

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Registration for the 2019 Field Seminars opens tomorrow at 9:00am to non-members. Of the 38 seminars we’re offering this year, seven have sold out already, so take a look at the list and sign up today to be sure you grab a spot!

Sign up for the En Plein Air oil painting seminar to get started painting outdoors in the Mono Basin’s inspiring landscape. Photo courtesy of Penny Otwell.

If you’re after birds this year, you can join Dave Shuford (waterfowl, shorebirds), Nora Livingston (all birds), Steve Shunk (woodpeckers), and David Wimpfheimer (all birds) in the field in search of species to add to your life list.

If you’re interested in enhancing your photography (more…)

Join the Mono Lake Volunteer team this summer

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 by Jessica, Office Director

The Mono Basin teems with visitors during summer months, and their experiences here are greatly enhanced when they meet one of the 70-plus Mono Lake Volunteers also out and about during the summer.

Volunteers learn about Mono Lake’s simple but productive food chain at South Tufa. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Volunteers introduce Mono Lake’s natural history to visitors by roving the high-use areas around the lake, leading patio talks at the Scenic Area Visitor Center, and helping with invasive species removal events. Volunteers also help with office tasks—such as putting together mailings—here at the Mono Lake Committee offices.

Not sure if you’re ready to teach visitors about Mono Lake? That’s okay! We have a great training for (more…)

Make your plans now for 2019 Mono Lake Field Seminars

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2019 Field Seminars is now available online hereRegistration opens at 9:00am on Friday, February 1.

The Mono Lake Committee’s Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston will be leading 16 seminars this year, with topics ranging from birding to botany, history to geology. Photo courtesy of Bob Yates.

This year there are 38 Field Seminars to choose from, including one-day, half-day, and multi-day options. As always, the list spans many natural history, cultural history, art, and photography topics.

New seminars this year include Watercolors in the Wild in (more…)

Take a guided trip to experience the majesty of winter at Mono Lake

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

With the winter solstice behind us, winter has officially begun and the days are getting longer! Join us here at Mono Lake for the Winter Ecology field seminar on February 9, 2019 for a guided trip into the mysteries of the winter season.

We’ve had a few winter storms already and we are hoping for lots more! Winter is a unique time to visit the Mono Basin—it’s a time for quiet solitude and reflection, for exploring curiosities on a smaller scale than during the bustle of summer.

Snow blankets Lee Vining canyon. Photo by Nora Livingston.

One question I hear people ask a lot is “what do animals and birds do to survive in the winter when snow covers the ground or it is so cold that we humans need to add several extra layers to stay warm enough?” (more…)

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