You are on a rocky volcanic island surrounded by an alkaline sea. Your only protection from the high-desert sun is your khaki-colored Mono Lake Committee logo bucket hat. It’s also your only protection against the frenzied California Gulls flying every which way and trying, as you suspect, to whitewash you with an airborne “splat!” (more…)
It’s a sunny morning as I park by Old Marina and strap on my skis. Do I have my binoculars around my neck? Check. Pen and paper in pocket? Check. Dog treats for my housemate’s puppy, who is ready to go? Check. We’re off on my weekly assignment to monitor Mono Lake’s level.
This task was a quick one in the autumn—just a look at the gauge at Old Marina and then a quick drive southeast to the old DWP dock to check the second gauge. Once we got snow (more…)
The Mono Basin Christmas Bird Count on December 19, 2012 recorded just a handful of Eared Grebes on Mono Lake, a shadow of the multitude that passed through during fall migration.
The Mono Lake Committee coordinated the annual aerial photo survey of the grebes last October. Volunteer LightHawk pilot Geoff Pope and volunteer photographer Stephen Ingram spent a morning flying over and photographing Mono Lake’s surface (more…)
On Saturday morning, October 13, a small plane flew over Mono Lake. It banked multiple times, and then flew across the lake over and over. A sightseer? No, this was scientific research in action—the annual Eared Grebe aerial photo survey!
A bit of background: Eared Grebes nest in the northern Rockies and southern Canada, and visit Mono Lake mid-migration. While here in the fall, they undergo molt and gorge themselves on (more…)
Visitors to the Mono Basin and Long Valley area in the next two weeks can expect to see golden aspen trees, snow dusted peaks, and something quite unusual—a lone helicopter flying only 500 feet from the ground.
The helicopter marks an exciting new development in an ongoing project by the US Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor volcanic activity in the Eastern Sierra. (more…)
The October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012 water year recently came to a close. Happy new 2013 water year!
What is a water year?
It is said that hydrologists get to celebrate a new year at least four times a year—January 1st for a calendar year, April 1st for a runoff year, July 1st for a coastal California rainfall year (as well as a fiscal year), and October 1st for a water year. Needless to say, this creates challenges in organizing hydrology data.
Here in the Mono Basin, we typically use the runoff year to summarize most measurements involving stream flows, since (more…)
Thanks to recent efforts of California Trout, a video of part one of Elden Vestal’s November 3, 1993 deposition is now on YouTube. You can watch the hour and forty-seven minute video here on the Mono Basin Clearinghouse.
Elden was a California Department of Fish & Game Fisheries Biologist whose deposition was instrumental (more…)
In early September I had the privilege of joining PRBO Conservation Science researcher Kristie Nelson and small group of volunteers in an excursion to Mono Lake’s islets for the annual California Gull mortality count (otherwise known as the “Mort Count”).
This was the third and final trip that the gull researchers made to the islands this summer. In July, Birding Intern Erica Tucker helped out with chick-banding in a trip she chronicled last month on the Mono-logue. My experience on the islands was much different from hers (more…)
The summer of 2012 was hot. But how hot? As we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox and the end of summer, let’s take a look back and see how the weather this year (so far) compared to previous years. Our focus is on temperatures—every month this year has had above-average temperatures. In October, we will summarize the meager precipitation and snowfall that fell during the dry October 1, 2011–September 30, 2012 Water Year. (more…)
America’s National Parks and extensive wilderness system provides millions of acres of unspoiled lands in which we can all escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a day, a week, or even months at a time. Enjoying our protected public lands is not the only activity we can pursue in the great outdoors, however.
Adventurers & Scientists for Conservation is a nonprofit founded by Gregg Treinish after he was able to partake in the adventure of a lifetime—trekking 7,800 miles along the length of the Andes, worthy of 2008 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year honors—but he felt (more…)