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monolake.org now faster … and greener!

August 4th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

We’re excited to announce that we’ve switched to a new server for all of the Committee’s Websites! This means monolake.org, monobasinresearch.org, and leevining.com are now considerably faster to load their beautiful pictures and cool content. Not only that, all … more »

Big challenges ahead for State Parks

July 30th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director

State Park Closure Action Alert CenterThe Los Angeles Times today profiles Bodie as an example of the deep challenges facing the State Park system.

Los Angeles Times: California seeks sponsors for state parks

Summer Update: Daily thunderstorms

July 30th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

The busy days of midsummer are in full swing, we’re even seeing visitation numbers higher than previous years. So far it has been a great summer for thunderstorms!

WEATHER
Warm, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. Nearby thunderstorms are keeping the sky very interesting. On Sunday afternoon it rained in Lee Vining for half an hour.!Thunderstorms remain in the forecast through … more »

Notes on the dowager: Rush Creek has the oldest reported Willow Flycatcher

July 29th, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 29 July

Endangered Willow Flycatcher at Rush Creek. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

The oldest known Willow Flycatcher is at Rush Creek. Photo courtesy of Chris McCreedy.

Attached are photographs of likely one of the founding females of the Rush Creek Willow Flycatcher population.  I found her nest in June of 2001, she was the second nesting female I found on Rush Creek that year.  Mark Pollock, working for Sacha Heath, banded her on July 29, 2001, and he aged her After Second-Year (meaning she was born before 2000).  That means she is at least 10 years old this summer.  The previous record reported to the USGS was 8 years and 11 months.  I suspect the Southern Sierra Research Station may have older birds, but they have not reported them to the Bird Banding Lab.

She has nested on Rush every season since.  She is the most successful female of the population, and has fledged chicks in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.  Her longtime mate did not return in 2007, and she mated with a neighboring male, Phil (OK/S, or Orange-Black/Silver).  She was his second female, and due to lots of ruckus and not much room, she was a non-factor in 2007 and 2008, abandoning a parasitized nest and leaving by July 15 in 2007 and raising a Brown-headed Cowbird in 2008.

She is one of only 3 females I have followed that knows how to … more »

Los Angelinos excel at water conservation

July 28th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director

In this dry year Los Angeles has added extra emphasis to its water conservation campaign, including mandatory limitations on outdoor watering. The numbers now show that Los Angeles residents are making big conservation strides: water demand in June dropped 11% over last year, hitting a new 32-year low.

Full story in the Los Angeles Times: Water demand in Los Angeles reaches a 32-year low, DWP says

State Parks budget cut deeper by $6 million

July 28th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director

State Park Closure Action Alert CenterGovernor Schwarzenegger made additional cuts to the state budget today before signing it. Preliminary information is that the State Park system took another $6 million in cuts on top of the already planned $8 million, bringing the total cut to $14 million. As a result 100 park units may shut down.

Peregrine Falcon dive

July 24th, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: July 24, 2009

Today at the very end of my bird walk at County Park, we were very lucky to watch a pair of Peregrine Falcons dive bombing a flock of roughly 800 Wilson’s Phalaropes. The Peregrines were unsuccessful in their two attempts at lunch. It was an impressive sight.

There are also 7 Gadwall ducklings putting about with Mom and lots of Juvenile California Gulls.

California budget deal could close 50 state parks

July 23rd, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director

With a state budget vote scheduled for tonight, more details of the budget deal are coming out including the now-available Assembly Floor Report. Here’s the analysis of the budget’s effect on the State Park system (emphasis added):

Reduces the Department of Parks and Recreation’s operations budget by $8 million (General Fund). This reduction will be partnered with a combination of special fund loans and reversions of prior year unexpended funds that, together, will have a total General Fund savings of $70 million. This proposal will result in the closure of roughly 50 state parks. The Department will determine through a cost benefit analysis which parks will be closed and when.

American White Pelican atop tufa

July 22nd, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: July 22nd, 2009

Perching gracefully on a tufa spire, eyeing brine shrimp, Phalaropes, and our steadily approaching kayaks. When it flew, I noticed its stark black ribbon of feathers and light orange beak. Lovely.

What to do at Mono Lake?

July 22nd, 2009 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Coming to Mono Lake for vacation? Bringing friends to Mono Lake for a visit? Looking for something fun to do while you’re here? Look no further: you can plan your whole Mono Lake visit right here.

Mono Lake Committee intern Claire Skinner explains Mono Lake's history to a group of visitors at South Tufa. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Mono Lake Committee intern Claire Skinner explains Mono Lake's history to a group of visitors at South Tufa. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Together, the Mono Lake Committee, US Forest Service, and Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve provide 50 interpretive programs each week! That’s enough for all your friends and family to get out and about and experience the splendor of the Mono Basin many different ways.

For newcomers to the Mono Basin, start the visit with … more »

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