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A couple of photos from my recent post.

May 2nd, 2014 by tdomf_e48ef
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Date of sighting: 05/01/14

A Lesser Goldfinch and a White-throated Sparrow.

Lee Vining Birds

May 2nd, 2014 by tdomf_e48ef
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Date of sighting: 02/05/14

Taking a short walk around my neighborhood I saw the following birds:
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Bullock’s Oriole -my first for the year!
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Brewer’s Blackbird
Cassin’s Finch
Red-tailed Hawk
American Robin
White-breasted Nuthatch
Hairy Woodpecker
and a very rare vagrant White-throated Sparrow! Got good photos of this bird.
What a sweet stroll it was… Enjoy!

Tioga Pass is open!

May 2nd, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Happy Tioga Pass opening day! Tioga opened this morning at 10:00am all the way through Yosemite National Park. Will you be making a trip over to visit Mono Lake any time soon?

Due to the drought and an extremely low snowpack, this is the third-earliest Tioga Pass opening date after 1977 (April 8 ) and 1976 (April 10).

There are no visitor services open between the town of Lee Vining east of Yosemite and Crane Flat, on the western side of the park. All campgrounds, the gas station, the store, and the village grill are closed, with no anticipated opening dates yet. Due to the high elevation of Tioga Pass (nearly 10,000 feet above sea level) it’s still very early spring up there, with snowy and icy conditions along hiking trails. Also, Tioga Pass may close temporarily if there’s any weather in the forecast, so always check road conditions before you drive.

Tioga Pass will open tomorrow, Friday, May 2 at noon

May 1st, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: Tioga Pass will open tomorrow, Friday, May 2 at noon! … more »

Mono Lake forecast: Level dropping to 18-year low

May 1st, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) has issued its Mono Lake level forecast for the 2014 runoff year. The forecast, running from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, has Mono Lake reaching 6379.0 feet above sea level by December. This will be the lowest level we have seen since March 1996.

2014 runoff year forecast for Mono Lake's level in the context of the last 34 years. Excessive water exports ended in 1989, allowing the lake to reverse its long-term decline from 6417 feet above sea level. Graph courtesy of LADWP.

2014 runoff year forecast for Mono Lake's level in the context of the last 34 years. Excessive water exports ended in 1989, allowing the lake to reverse its long-term decline from 6417 to 6372 feet above sea level. Graph courtesy of DWP. Click to enlarge.

This summer, with only 43% of average snowmelt runoff, Mono Lake is expected to fall from its current elevation of 6380.6 to 6380.0 by August, and to 6379.2 by October. Already the May 1st level is a tenth of a foot lower than the prediction—as also happened in April of the last two years. … more »

2014 Tioga Pass Run registration opens May 1

April 30th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Julia Frankenbach, 2014 Project Specialist.

Calling all runners and walkers! Registration for the 34th annual Tioga Pass Run opens on Thursday, May 1st. This year’s Run is taking place on Sunday, September 7th.

Eric Lynch, first-place finisher in 2011, 2012, and 2013, chugs up Tioga Pass during last year’s Run. Photo courtesy of Dick Erb.

Register on or before July 31st to receive a free T-shirt with your registration! Proceeds from the Run benefit the Mono Lake Committee. Not a member of the Mono Lake Committee yet? Be sure to select “yes” when asked if you would like to become a member, and we will add a free one-year membership … more »

The “lower gate” on Tioga Pass has reopened

April 29th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The gate that closes Highway 120 just four miles west of Highway 395 has been reopened after closing briefly for last weekend’s snowstorms.

The "lower gate" on Tioga Pass/Highway 120. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Highway 120 is now open for 12 miles, all the way to the entrance to Yosemite National Park, where the park gate is still shut while snow removal operations clear the rest of the road. There is no estimated opening date yet for the rest of the road.

With the lower gate open, visitors can access Ellery Lake, Tioga Lake, and the high country nearby. However, the lakes are still frozen over, and the ground is still covered in snow—use caution and common sense when you visit the Tioga high country. Saddlebag Lake Road is not yet open.

A frozen and snowed-over Tioga Lake on April 17, 2014. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

A frozen and snowed-over Ellery Lake on April 17, 2014. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

First sighting of a Gray Flycatcher at County Park

April 29th, 2014 by tdomf_e48ef
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Date of sighting: 4/28/14

Went birding to County Park yesterday and was lucky to have observed my first Gray Flycatcher of the year -also saw, White-faced Ibis, Caspian Terns, and hundreds of peeps (both Least and Western Sandpipers)!!!!

Birding the Mono Basin spring

April 26th, 2014 by Santiago, Outdoor Experiences Manager
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With the onset of spring in the Mono Basin, bird life is exploding all around the lake and its environs.

Black-headed Grosbeak. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Every day I see a new species, whether it is a Red-breasted Sapsucker, a Black-headed Grosbeak, an Osprey, or a Yellow-headed Blackbird with its weird call. As an avid birder, I love noticing each spring as the bird calls and bird sightings increase in frequency.

Bald Eagle. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

… more »

Spring in the Mono Basin: Fishing season opener, campground information, restaurants opening for the season

April 25th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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This post was written by Julia Frankenbach, 2014 Project Specialist.

As temperatures rise and the Mono Basin’s desert peach (Prunus andersonii) shrubs begin to blossom, it’s official: the Mono Basin is waking up for spring! Here is a list of now-opened places to eat and recreate in the Mono Basin.

Desert peach just beginning to bloom last week. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Fishing season opens tomorrow
Fishing season in Mono County opens tomorrow, April 26. Stop by Beaver’s Sporting Goods (formerly Bell’s Sporting Goods) in Lee Vining to pick up fishing gear and to purchase your fishing license.

Visitor centers
The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center has opened its doors for the season. Come to the Visitor Center to enjoy interpretive displays, see a film on Mono Lake’s natural and cultural history, and get fire and camping permits. The Visitor Center is located just north of the town of Lee Vining on Highway 395 and … more »

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