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The Mono Basin’s top 10 June birds

July 7th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

We keep a running list of bird sightings on the “bird board” in the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore, clearing it each month to make room for more sightings.

A Grey-crowned Rosy Finch feeding with ground squirrels at Virginia Lakes Resort. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Here are ten notable sightings from June:

County Park
Wilson’s Snipe
Lazuli Bunting
Black-headed Grosbeak
Bullock’s Oriole (nesting)
Mountain Bluebird (nesting)
Lewis’ Woodpecker (nesting)
Peregrine Falcon

Lundy Canyon
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Common Goldeneye

Little Virginia Lake
Grey-crowned Rosy-Finch

Drop by the Mono Lake Committee and add your sightings to the board!

Two internship opportunities at the Mono Lake Committee

July 4th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Terry McLaughlin, 2012 Outdoor Experiences Lead Instructor, 2014 & 2015 Interim Information Center & Bookstore Manager, and 2015–2017 Membership Assistant.

Do you know someone who has wanted to work at the Mono Lake Committee but couldn’t commit for the whole summer? Right now we have a unique offering—two Information Center & Bookstore Intern positions. This internship will last only six weeks, starting August 6 and continuing through September 30.

Apply for the Information Center & Bookstore Intern position to come work at Mono Lake and hone your customer service skills! Photo by Elin Ljung.

Several of our current Mono Lake Interns are heading back to school in early August—we wish them well and support their thirst for further education. However, this leaves us looking for qualified applicants to help us finish the busy summer season.

The Information Center & Bookstore Interns will help out in the Information Center & Bookstore, assisting visitors to the Mono Basin and working with store customers. This is a chance to spend time in the Mono Basin while honing your customer service skills and building your knowledge of this special area.

Check out the full job description here. The positions will remain open until filled. Call Office Manager Terry McLaughlin at (760) 647-6595 with questions.

An American Dipper on July Fourth

July 4th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

Not to be confused with the night sky’s Big or Little Dipper, the incredible American Dipper is a chunky, plain-looking little bird with transparent eyelids that lives near rushing mountain streams where it dives, swims and walks underwater to feed on insects, aquatic invertebrates and small fish.

An American Dipper at Lee Vining Creek, it’s watery home. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Early this morning—coffee, binoculars, and cameras in hand—we enjoyed a half hour perched above Lee Vining Creek still flowing fast with Sierra snowmelt runoff … more »

See the amazing recovery of Mono’s creeks firsthand on July 20th

July 3rd, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

As you walk down the Lee Vining Creek Trail, you notice black cottonwood trees on the hillside, fed by the Lee Vining Public Utilities District percolation ponds uphill. Many of these trees are dying and falling over, victims of old age and the three driest consecutive years on record, making formerly shady areas of the trail a bit sunnier, as this hillside naturally would be.

The bright green vegetation along lower Lee Vining Creek's bottomland channels indicate places where water flows once more. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

As you walk along the creek at the bottom of the hill, you notice many young black cottonwood trees sprouting … more »

Interesting Mono Lake brine shrimp data in the 2013 DWP compliance report

July 1st, 2014 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

On May 15th every year, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power sends its Mono Basin compliance report to the State Water Resources Control Board. One of the notable things about the May 15, 2014 report is that it does not contain a “tributaries” section for the first time. This indicates that there was no official geomorphic or vegetation monitoring along the streams in 2013, for the first time since the State Water Board issued Order 98-05 in 1998. A reduction in stream monitoring has begun, and aside from a small increase in effort to confirm the effects of the new streamflows, this reduction was anticipated in the Mono Basin Stream Restoration Settlement Agreement.

The Committee has begun reviewing the report, … more »

Mono Lake’s feathered babies

June 28th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

Fledgling Great Horned Owl. Photo by Sandra Noll.

This post was written by Sandra Noll, Birding Intern in 2014, 2015, & 2016.

Last weekend’s summer solstice marks a time of new life at Mono Lake. Late spring/early summer heralds the fledging (first flight) of many birds that nest in the Mono Basin. Some crowd the nest entrance, just about ready for that first leap of faith; some hatch as downy chicks that swim well but won’t develop the feathers necessary for flight for some time yet; and others have already taken that first flight but still rely on their parents for supplemental feedings as they learn to fend for themselves.

Great Horned Owls nest earlier than most birds; by now they have already fledged their young and moved away from nesting areas to sites with more abundant prey. Many other “babies” remain, however, awaiting your discovery. … more »

Mono Basin naturalist activities begin for summer 2014

June 27th, 2014 by Robbie, Restoration Field Technician

As we near the end of June the Mono Lake Committee, in partnership with the US Forest Service and the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, is excited to announce the slew of activities that are coming up. Below is a brief list of the summer’s activities, which will be available from June 28 through September 1, 2014.

Join a naturalist at South Tufa this summer every day at 10:00am, 1:00pm, and 6:00pm for a guided tour about Mono Lake's ecology and history. Photo by Elin Ljung.

South Tufa Walks
What is tufa and where does it come from? Why is Mono Lake salty and what can live in the lake? Starting tomorrow … more »

From the Midwest to Mono: A journey

June 25th, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Adam Dalton, 2014 Mono Lake Intern.

In early January I began to worry—it was winter break as I sat frantically searching the internet for internships on my laptop while sub-zero winter winds whipped the windows of my Iowa home. Many of my friends had already applied for internships for the summer and I, procrastinating as usual, had failed to look at any of the internship databases available to Grinnell College students. As I frantically searched the many available websites I kept running into dead ends such as: missed deadlines, unavailability due to major specifications, and general lack of interest. As my frustration neared a peak, in a near-godsend moment, I stumbled across the position of Mono Lake Committee Intern.

Adam, left, makes tufa with Education Director Bartshe Miller during seasonal staff training. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Being a lifelong Midwesterner, I had never heard of Mono Lake or the Mono Lake Committee but the internship looked perfect; I would be able to work in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States and focus on water issues, which I am passionate about. Furthermore, I was emotionally struck by the amazing story of … more »

Feathers, flocks, and friends at the 2014 Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

June 24th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last weekend we celebrated the thirteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua, with over 300 people gathering in Lee Vining to celebrate birds, natural history, art, science, and Mono Lake, in one of the best birding sites in the Western United States.

Birding the Mono Basin's historic DeChambeau Ranch. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

This year Chautauqua participants saw more species of birds than in any other year—127 species and counting, as we continue to tally up the lists. There weren’t any unusual … more »

Guided canoe tours on Mono Lake begin this weekend

June 23rd, 2014 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Julie Curtis, 2014 Mono Lake Intern.

As summer at the Mono Lake Committee comes in to full swing, everybody is eagerly awaiting the start of canoe tours. As a returning Mono Lake Intern to the Committee, I am clued into the excitement all new interns are likely experiencing.

The 2014 interns practice their paddling skills on Mono Lake. Photo by Erv Nichols.

On canoe tour days (Saturdays and Sundays) the early mornings are no deterrent—I know the exhilaration that will occur from being up close and personal with this unique lake. … more »

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