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Phalarope researchers and their muses flock to Mono Lake

Monday, November 4th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

If you’ve been to Mono Lake in late July, you may have been lucky enough to have seen the elegant aerial ballet of a flock of Wilson’s Phalaropes.

Phalarope surveyors counted birds through binoculars in a clockwise transect around Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Ryan Carle.

This summer there were thousands of phalaropes along Mono Lake’s south shore, so visitors were fortunate to have the chance to witness these small shorebirds in magnificent flocks dancing above the reflective lake surface, turning on a dime, flashing their white bellies all at once before seeming to disappear in the dark mountain background when they turn their brown and gray backs in unison. This flocking behavior is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. It was a notable phalarope summer at Mono Lake in several other ways as well. (more…)

Calling Mono Lake photographers!

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 by Arya, Communications Director

Submitting images for consideration for the Mono Lake Calendar has never been easier, so if you have a beautiful shot, we’d love to see it! Now is the time—the deadline is next Thursday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

2020 Mono Lake Calendar

We are looking for images of scenes within the watershed boundary of Mono Lake, and possible subjects include, but are not limited to: plants, geologic features, streams, (more…)

Join us for a winter field seminar at Mono Lake

Friday, October 11th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Travel to the Mono Basin in winter to experience the “forgotten” season on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Winter here is quiet, majestic, and worth discovering with a guide on one of our winter field seminars.

Join us for a winter field seminar to experience the “forgotten” season in the Mono Basin. Photo by Arya Harp.

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Winter Photography at Mono Lake
January 10–2, 2020 • Joe Decker

Mono Basin Winter Wanders (half-day) •
February 1 & 15, March 7 & 21, 2020
• Nora Livingston

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Registration will open on Tuesday, October 15 at noon. To sign up, call (760) 647-6595 or register online. (more…)

2021 Mono Lake Calendar submission deadline is approaching

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 by Joslyn, Project Specialist

We hope you are planning to submit your Mono Lake and Mono Basin photos for the 2021 Mono Lake Calendar jury selection this year. The deadline is Wednesday, October 31, 2019, and you can find submission information here.

Photos courtesy of John Dittli, Jessica Tallman, Dennis Flaherty.

We encourage you to submit high-quality photographs that you feel best capture the spirit of the Mono Basin’s geological and ecological wonders. To be selected for inclusion (more…)

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…)

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…)

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