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Parks’ future still in limbo as budget stalls

June 25th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director

State Park Closure Action Alert CenterFunding for state parks was scheduled for a vote Wednesday June 24 in Sacramento as part of the state’s full budget package. But when the first package element lacked the necessary 2/3 majority vote, further action was put off leaving the future of State Parks funding in doubt.

The proposed State Parks Access Pass, which would fund all state parks including Mono Lake and Bodie by adding $15 to vehicle license fees in exchange for year-round free parks access, was part of the package but did not come up for a vote.

It is still critically important to show support for parks. The overall budget package is likely headed into a series of negotiations between the governor and legislature and it’s important that parks funding is preserved!

Write a letter to the negotiation leadership and we’ll hand-deliver it to them in Sacramento! And stay tuned for further updates.

In the news: Sacramento Bee Democrats’ budget-balancing plan crashes and burns

Northern Parula at Lundy

June 23rd, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: June 22, 2009

Justin, Kathy, and I went up Lundy to look for the Northern Parula that has been sighted recently up by the resort. We heard it sing – an ascending trill that ends in a high “pip” – and then we saw it in a willow north of the dirt road. We watched it hop around and preen and sing for over 20 minutes. It was wonderful.

So many vagrants around! I feel a bit giddy, being a relatively new birder, and very thankful that we live in such a wonderful place.

Last chance to sign up…

June 22nd, 2009 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
An alpine lily gets a closeup. Photo courtesy of David Gubernick.

An alpine lily gets a closeup. Photo courtesy of David Gubernick.

With an unusually cool and rainy spring season in the Mono Basin, the flower displays are amazing! Desert flowers are still putting on a good show, with higher-elevation species coming into full bloom in the canyons. It’s a great time to visit Mono Lake.

This flower year will be spectacular for photographers. If you’ve ever thought about getting into wildflower photography, now is your chance! This weekend accomplished photographer David Gubernick will be teaching a Mono Lake Committee workshop: The Art of Wildflower Macrophotography. David offers a relaxed and supportive atmosphere for beginners, and his wealth of knowledge will benefit experts too.

Sign up this week to join what promises to be a great class!

Ovenbird singing on the Lee Vining Creek trail

June 22nd, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 22 June

Lenny Warren found a singing Ovenbird on the Lee Vining Creek trailtoday, within 100m downstream of the sign after you go down the stepsfrom 395.  He got looks at the bird and is familiar with it (he’s from Maine).I went back later with him and I heard it sing about every 6 or 7 minutes for a half-hour, but I never got a look at it, even though at one point it was only about 15 feet away.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

June 22nd, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: June 22, 2009

Wendy Willis and I just watched a male Chestnut-sided Warbler singing in the rose thickets east of County Park. He was moving around on top of the dead willows (just like the Tennessee Warbler for those of you that saw him) but slightly further east, sometimes singing in the Cottonwoods to the east of the thicket as well. We were able to see him from the road. Beautiful Bird!

Kowtowskunk Birds

June 21st, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 21 June

Chautauqua was great this year, and I hope that Bartshe and/or Nora post what was seen.  If anyone has photographs of the Tennessee Warbler and Indigo Bunting at County Park, I’d love to beg you for a copy.

Here is the requisitely lame photograph of the Kentucky Warbler that Lenny Warren and I found singing on Rush Creek this morning.

I recognized that the heavy, repetitive song was a vagrant right away.  I am not good at typing out mnemonics, but it was basically a repeated two-note “chupa chupa chupa chupa” sort of thing, usually in groups of four or three.

It was just off the two-track, only 10 m or so away.  It continued to sing and slowly eased out of the shiny willow – yellow throat, yellow belly and undertail coverts, then the black cap, yellow eyeline, and black auricular patch.  The auricular seemed to be still coming in, making me think it could be a second-year bird.  I guess closest species would be Wilson’s Warbler and Hooded Warbler, but the face pattern and song were far different.

It was moving slowly and singing fairly constantly, at the edge of a wall of shiny willow, probably the gnarliest place on Rush.

In the photo, I used my lame photoshop skills to draw an arrow to its eye.

Crowd gathers for Save Our State Parks (SOS) Weekend at Mono Lake

June 21st, 2009 by Arya, Communications Director

In an inspirational show of support for the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, Bodie State Park, and all State Parks, over 100 people gathered at the Tufa State Reserve Boardwalk at Mono Lake to participate in the Save Our State Parks effort in support of State Parks around California today.

The concern for the future of State Parks runs deep in this neck of the woods, … more »

Spring Update: Summer is coming

June 18th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Two days until the Summer Solstice, and sure enough it is starting to warm up, but not yet starting to dry out–it rained for about an hour last night. The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua starts tomorrow, lots of birders are in town, and excitement is … more »

Redstart and Lewis’s Woodpecker on Rush

June 18th, 2009 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 18 June

A fair chance this was a different redstart, as I saw it 1-2 miles upstream.  It was only a quick look and I did not get to see if it had a black spot like on the one I found yesterday.  A Lewis’s Woodpecker sallied high in the Black Cottonwoods, profiting from some sort of Arthropod hatch.

Special Delivery: Twenty-one pounds of support for State Parks

June 18th, 2009 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

State Park Closure Action Alert Center

This post was written by Morgan, 2009 Canoe Coordinator.

As a returning Intern, and this year’s Canoe Coordinator for the Mono Lake Committee, I look forward to doing something new every day to help protect and restore this incredible place.  This past Monday was a typical example of the unexpected diversity of tasks I can expect to do every day I come to work. … more »

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