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It’s Christmas Bird Count week!

Thursday, December 14th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Whether you are a seasoned birder or new to the delightful joy of watching birds, you can help gather data for the Christmas Bird Count, one of the largest citizen science data sets in the world! Every December and January, thousands of bird enthusiasts across the world count individual birds in specific areas to get a general idea of the population shifts throughout the years.

An Audubon’s Warbler in winter plumage. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The three local counts are coming up this weekend and next week:

Bishop CBC: Saturday, December 16
Contact Chris Howard by email.

Mammoth Lakes CBC: Sunday, December 17
Contact Santiago Escruceria by email.

Mono Lake CBC: Tuesday, December 19
Contact Kristie Nelson by email.

Do you want to volunteer where you live? The National Audubon Society has a stellar map to show you where all the count circles are and who to contact. If you’re not great at bird identification, you can help by taking notes and keeping track of numbers. You will be assigned to an experienced birder so you can learn a lot along the way.

The weather is looking cold and dry, so the counts will be accessible by hiking rather than snowshoes or cross country skis like in years past. Happy birding!

The Season Seldom Seen: Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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Have you ever wondered where all the tiny chipmunks that skitter up the lodgepole pines all summer go when the landscape is covered with several feet of snow? Or how they could possibly survive the cold temperatures and lack of food for months on end? What about how plants bounce back after being buried in snow? This winter we are excited to offer a new Field Seminar focusing on these questions and more!

A view of Mono Lake and the White Mountains from Lundy Canyon in January 2017. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The Season Seldom Seen: Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin will investigate the connections plants and animals have with their winter environments in addition to what factors cause winter in the first place. Winter ecology reveals a new side of animal and plant life that is invisible until (more…)

#GivefortheGrebes this #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director
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This year for #GivingTuesday (November 28) we are fundraising for Eared Grebe surveys at Mono Lake!

First: There is a donation match! All donations made on Giving Tuesday through Facebook will be matched, thanks to Facebook’s charitable giving program. (And they’re not charging fees either.) Click here on Tuesday to #GivefortheGrebes via Facebook!

Then: Mark your calendar to catch our Facebook Live event at 12:30pm On Tuesday, November 28 down at the lake with Geoff, Robbie, and Maureen talking about Eared Grebe research and answering your questions. Tune in (more…)

Winter field seminars at Mono Lake

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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This coming winter we are pleased to offer three field seminars to take advantage of this very special season—one winter ecology and two winter photography seminars!

Poconip ice fog shrouds Mono Lake, with just a sliver of sun illuminating the base of Black Point. Photo courtesy of Joe Decker.

___________________________________________

Winter Ecology of the Mono Basin •
January 13–14, 2018 • Nora Livingston

Mono Basin Winter Photography •
January 26–28, 2018
 • Joe Decker

Mono Lake by Moonlight •
March 2–4, 2018
 • Joe Decker
___________________________________________

Registration will open on Wednesday, November 1 for Mono Lake Committee members only, and on December 1 for non-members. To sign up, call (760) 647-6595 or register online. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Water law plus geology with Craig Jones

Sunday, October 8th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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This Wednesday, October 11 at 4:00pm is our last Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation of the year. Join us in the Mono Lake Committee gallery to hear from Craig Jones, a geologist at the University of Colorado, about the relationship between water law and geology at Mono Lake and how both have had significant effects on how the lake has evolved over time.

Geologist Craig Jones will talk about how the Sierra Nevada west of Mono Lake affect the climate in the Mono Basin. Photo by Ava Stavros.

Years ago, to acquire water exports from the Mono Basin, Los Angeles used California water laws that first emerged in the goldfields of the western Sierra. These laws allowed for (more…)

Early-bird Mono Lake Free Drawing winner, plus more chances to win

Thursday, October 5th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Last week we drew the winner of the early-bird Free Drawing prize—congratulations to Orlene Kelting of Hawthorne, California, who won tickets to the Taste of Yosemite event!

I drew the winning name for this year’s early bird prize: a Taste of Yosemite Package for two! Photo by Maureen McGlinchy.

It’s not too late to get your tickets in for a chance to win as well—we’ll be drawing all the other winners in mid-December. This year you can win one of over two dozen incredible prizes including vacation packages, a Cali4nia ski pass, Patagonia gear, and much more. (more…)

Mono Lake Committee book signing: Author & artist Obi Kaufmann

Monday, September 25th, 2017 by Lily, Information Center & Bookstore Manager
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We hope you’ll take a break from your fall color viewing and join us for a book signing with California author, artist, and naturalist Obi Kaufmann on Sunday, October 1 at the Mono Lake Committee.

Obi will be presenting and signing his new book, The California Field Atlas, which is a striking volume full of watercolor maps and illustrations of California’s spectacular geography and wildlife, with fascinating information about this amazing and diverse state. Come in and pick up a signed copy of the book for yourself or a friend, chat with the author, and enjoy refreshments from 3:00–5:00pm. We hope to see you there!

Map of the ecological regions of California from The California Field Atlas by Obi Kaufman.

Mono Basin fall colors are just around the corner

Sunday, September 17th, 2017 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide
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I saw my first yellow leaves the other day, just a few golden specks fluttering amidst a sea of vibrant green along the June Lake Loop, and it got me very excited for fall.

Leaves are just starting to change from green to yellow and red. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Fall is perhaps my favorite time of year in the Mono Basin. It’s like the whole ecosystem relaxes, it takes a deep breath after the constant rush of summer and lets it all go. The air is crisp and clear, the sagebrush sea becomes silent after its birds have flown south, the aspen leaves flutter gold, and the clouds put on spectacular broody shows most evenings.

Each week in fall is unique because of the changing leaves in each individual canyon and hilltop—one week they are still lime green, the next they may be neon yellow, the next buttercream with ruddy streaks like flames licking up a log. When the leaves (more…)

Results are in for the 37th annual Tioga Pass Run

Saturday, September 16th, 2017 by Michael, Mono Lake Intern
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Last Sunday, September 10, 132 runners and walkers challenged themselves to ascend the 12.4 miles of the Tioga Pass during this year’s annual Tioga Pass Run. This was another successful year for the epic event, where the participants start in front of the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining and finish at the entrance to Yosemite National Park, gaining 3,165 feet of elevation along the way to the top.

Runners make their way up Highway 120 west with the horizon dominated by the Dana Plateau. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Kenny Palmer of Mammoth Lakes won the overall race this year with a time of 1:37:31. Jessica Francois, a Lee Vining local and (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: How trout affect bird species at high-elevation lakes with Mary Clapp

Sunday, September 10th, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us on Wednesday, September 13 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. UC Davis researcher Mary Clapp will be here to discuss her ongoing research on the impacts of introduced trout on the native bird community in the high-elevation lake basins of the Sierra Nevada. Her work focuses on the connection between water and land by using acoustic recorders to remotely capture lakeside activity by birds and bats.

Researcher Mary Clapp is studying high-elevation lakes like this one to see if trout introduction is affecting the bird communities. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Introduced trout prey on native aquatic insects like mayflies and stoneflies, thus depleting the abundance and diversity of those insects in fish-containing lakes. These insects have a winged adult life-stage, at which point they become available to terrestrial predators (birds and bats) as a valuable food source.

Mary is testing the hypothesis that trout are therefore in competition with birds for this insect food, and that as a result, bird activity is greater at fishless lakes where aquatic insect emergences remain abundant. She will discuss a few different approaches to analyzing acoustic data, the benefits and limits of the technology, and how it compares with traditional survey methods. Her talk is entitled “Investigating the Impacts of Introduced Trout on the Native Bird at High-Elevation Lakes.”

If you’re interested, join us in the gallery at 4:00pm on Wednesday for this free presentation and free snacks!

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