today at mono lake


The Mono-logue


Major Categories   Search Blog:

The Mono-logue » Natural History

‘Natural History’ Category

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Rock glaciers as under-explored hydrologic reservoirs and climate refugia

Saturday, September 7th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Tuesday, September 10 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Connie Millar, Senior Scientist with the US Forest Service, will be here to discuss rock glaciers as under-explored hydrologic reservoirs and climate refugia. If you can join us for this free event, please register here. Please note: This talk is on a Tuesday!

Gibbs Rock Glacier and Kidney Lake, seen from Dana Plateau. This is an active, ice-embedded rock glacier, moving at a rate of about 0.5 meters per year, and producing a steady output of cold groundwater. Photo courtesy of Connie Millar.

Despite their ubiquity, rock glaciers are little-recognized land forms of the high Sierra Nevada and other Great Basin mountains. Long studied globally by glacial specialists, their unique properties as enduring sources of cold-water springs and lakes, and their related roles in providing habitat for (more…)

“An effort of this magnitude will never be perfect”

Friday, September 6th, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

Twenty thousand years ago, a glacier churned down Lee Vining Canyon. Hundreds of feet thick at the top of the canyon, the glacier reached its maximum extent at the site of what is now the US Forest Service ranger station, just west of Lee Vining.

It is now easier to picture this arm of what scientists call the Tioga glaciation thanks to a new US Geological Survey map showing its extent throughout the Yosemite region. Greg Stock, geologist for Yosemite National Park and one of the map’s authors, spoke at the Mono Lake Committee last month. To a packed room, he described the jumble of moraines, boulders, and rock striations that he and his colleagues deciphered to build the map.

The USGS’s new map, released this summer, shows the extent of the Tioga glaciation in the vicinity of Yosemite National Park. This corner of the map shows a glacier flowing down Lee Vining Canyon toward ancestral Mono Lake (Lake Russell). Image courtesy of the USGS.

But this latest map is based on more than work by Stock and his colleagues. It also draws on the efforts of an earlier generation of scientists. In other words, just as the Tioga glaciation isn’t the only glacial period in the Sierra Nevada’s past, the 2019 map is not the first map of the Tioga glaciation in the park. (more…)

Invasive plants—we’re in the thick of it!

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 by Meghan, Mono Lake Intern

When I first started at the Mono Lake Committee as an intern this past June, I had very little concept of why invasive plants are such a threat to healthy habitats. I would see posters plastered around boat ramps, heard about volunteer opportunities for invasive plant removal, and driven through vehicle inspection stops and thought, “so what?”

Interns Meghan and AnnaLisa checking along Mill Creek for invasive plant species. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Last month I took my first invasive plant scouting trip down at Mill Creek (one of Mono Lake’s tributaries that the Committee is working to restore) with Restoration Field Technician Robbie Di Paolo. It didn’t take long to see the threats invasive species pose here in the Mono Basin and why they’re so important to address. (more…)

Stream monitoring in the Mono Basin: Rush Creek field camera

Monday, September 2nd, 2019 by Chloe, Mono Lake Intern

The smell of sagebrush permeates the air. Rush Creek, full and thriving, flows by on its way to Mono Lake. The hot Sierra sun beats down on the brim of my Mono Lake Committee hat as I tramp along behind another Committee intern, Ellie Neifeld, and Restoration Field Technician Robbie Di Paolo.

Me on the way to the Rush Creek field camera with Mono Lake in the background. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

We head away from the road, pushing through fragrant sagebrush and thorny bitterbrush and occasionally slipping down sandy hills. Eventually we make our way to our destination: a field camera overlooking Rush Creek! The field camera blends in well, sitting unobtrusively out of the way of both humans and animals as it takes one photo every five minutes of Rush Creek. (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: Sage-grouse conservation across the sagebrush sea

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday, September 4 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Eric Tymstra, PhD candidate at UC Davis, will be here to discuss his research on the Greater Sage-grouse, their behavior, diet, and conservation. If you can join us for this free event, please register here.

A male Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) struts his stuff on the lek during the breeding season in an effort to attract a mate. Photo courtesy of Andrew Hallberg.

Conservation and restoration efforts aim to protect organisms and the areas that they use. Herbivores in particular face unique challenges when it comes to habitat use: many plants have high fiber content, low nutritional value, and defenses such as toxins. In response to toxic, low-quality food, many herbivores have evolved counter defenses, such as (more…)

Summer activities on the Mono Lake Committee bookstore patio

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

As the summer drifts steadily onward, seasonal staff are making the most of the long days and increased visitation to Lee Vining by offering activities and natural history interpretation on the patio outside of the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore.

Look for the table out in front of the Mono Lake Committee bookstore—we’re there with games, activities, and answers to your questions. Photo by AnnaLisa Mayer.

Stopping beneath a welcome shade tent, as the August sun beats down on the concrete inlay of Mono Lake, passersby can play family-friendly games such as Wildflower Bingo and Shrimp Toss, all the while learning about the story of the lake and the local ecology. If (more…)

Only one weekend left for free bird walks at County Park and Lundy Canyon

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

As I reflect on the weekly County Park and Lundy Canyon bird walks from this past season, it is difficult to distill all the feathered moments into a few short paragraphs that convey what a wonderful experience it all has been. Join us this weekend for the last free bird walks of the season!

Join us on Friday and Sunday to bird Mono Lake County Park and the State Natural Reserve boardwalk. Photo by Elin Ljung.

This season has quite literally “flown” by, and has left me in a daze from all the twisting phalarope murmurations and the seasonal changes in the local bird populations. I felt the peak of (more…)

Canoe with the osprey at Mono Lake this weekend

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator

One of the perks of working as the Canoe Coordinator for the Mono Lake Committee is that I get to closely observe the nesting osprey at Mono Lake. Just like me, the osprey usually arrive at Mono Lake in late spring. Canoe tours don’t start until mid-June each summer, so for the first month I only observed the birds from the shore at South Tufa.

A canoe tour paddles past Pirate Ship Tufa on a calm morning. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Once canoe tours start, though, I have the unique opportunity to see these birds from the water. There are approximately 16 pairs of nesting osprey at Mono Lake, all of which nest on the tufa islands, and humans must stay at least 250 yards away from the nests at all times. The only exception to this rule is (more…)

Join us for birding & geology at Mono Lake this Labor Day weekend

Monday, August 26th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

This coming weekend we’re offering three one-day seminars for a full weekend of natural history at Mono Lake. Snap up the last few spaces in Birding the White Mountains on Friday, Volcanism of the Mono Basin on Saturday, and Shorebird Migration on Sunday!

Join Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston for three seminars over Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Bob Yates.

Birding the White Mountains • August 30 • 1 space left!

The gradient from the Owens Valley up to the White Mountains provides a great swath of diverse habitat, from desert oasis up to high‐elevation pinyon‐juniper woodland. During this popular field seminar we will (more…)

Refreshing ‘Ologists: North America’s Rosy-finches and climate variability

Sunday, August 25th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday August 28 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this week’s Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists. Tim Brown, UC Santa Cruz PhD candidate, will be here to discuss Sierra Nevada Rosy-finches and climate vulnerability. If you can join us for this free talk, please register here.

Tim Brown holding a Sierra Nevada Rosy-finch. Photo courtesy of Tim Brown.

Mountaintop animals are among the most vulnerable species to climate change. If warming forces them upwards, they face an “escalator to extinction” as they reach the upper elevational limits of available habitat. Understanding mechanisms that (more…)

The Mono-logue is powered by Wordpress
Subscribe to entries with RSS or by Email. Subscribe to comments (RSS).

Find us on Facebook

 

Follow us on Twitter

 

Print this page
print

search | contact us | site map 
 

MLC Logo

© 2019 mono lake committee
The Mono Lake Committee is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.