Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Upcoming guided trips July 21–31

It’s amazing how many different plants, animals, and insects you can see when you are paying attention to your surroundings. Just focusing your gaze beyond one aspect of nature can bring you almost endless new things to see.

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Juvenile Green-tailed Towhee snagging a meal. Photo by Nora Livingston.

For instance, you see a bird perched on a branch and identify it as a Green-tailed Towhee. A lot of times, it is easy to stop there, saying “I identified the bird! Yay me!” But what if you asked, “what kind of tree is it perched on?” You look closer and find that it is perched in a willow. Willows have many uses, for both animals and people. Humans weave baskets with the supple bark to gather food in. Asprin was originally made with salicylic acid derived from willow bark (now it is usually made with biosynthesized salicylic acid rather than harvested). Take a closer look at the willow and you might find a caterpillar traversing a branch.

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Western sheep moth caterpillar. Photo by Nora Livingston.

What will that caterpillar turn into? A moth? A butterfly? Where will it build its chrysalis? There are endless questions to be asked in nature. Not all of them can be immediately answered, but asking them is half the fun. The Mono Lake Committee’s Natural History Ramble guided trip explores a habitat or two to delve deeper into the mysteries of nature. We take a closer look at everything: rocks, shrubs, flowers, butterflies, lichens, grasshoppers, mammals, birds—you name it, we’ll look for it!

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Tailed copper, Lycaena arota. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Our next Natural History Ramble trip is on August 20 from 8:00am–12:00pm. Sign up today!

Looking for a trip sooner? Here are the next few guided trips. We hope you’ll join us!

Wildflower Waltz on Thursday, July 21, will have you frolicking in the flowers. We will scour the lower wet meadows and canyons for the plethora of blooms and stalks that grace the trails. We will focus on identification and natural history of the flowers we see in multiple different habitats. This walk is great for photographers and budding botanists. 8:00am–12:00noon. $65 for members, $75 for non-members. Sign-up today!

Woodpecker Wander on Thursday, July 28, will explore the Jeffrey and lodgepole pine forests in the Mono Basin with a guide, paying special attention to active woodpeckers. The Eastern Sierra has many conifer habitats to host a plethora of snag-happy species like woodpeckers, Mountain Bluebirds, and nuthatches. Specialties include Black-backed Woodpecker, White-headed Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, and Pygmy Nuthatch. 8:00am–12:00noon. $65 for members, $75 for non-members. Sign-up today!

Mining the Past Through Binoculars on Sunday, July 31, will spend the day learning about history while keeping an eye out for wildlife. The Mono Basin is rich with Native American, mining, logging, and ranching history. In this program, we will spend the day visiting different historic locations while learning both about the stories behind them and the critters that inhabit them now. This trip will visit Bodie State Historic Park. 8:00am–4:00pm. $125 for members, $135 for non-members. Sign-up today!

If these scheduled trips interest you but don’t fit your vacation schedule, we also offer custom guided trips tailored to your wishes and interests. Call (760) 647-6595 to sign up, and visit our Guided Trips web page for more information.

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Tailed copper underside. Photo by Nora Livingston.