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.

Explore Lundy Canyon with a guide during Saturday morning bird walks

This post was written by Jenny Rieke, 2017 Birding Intern.

We hope you can join us for one of the new Lundy Canyon bird walks this year—on Saturdays at 7:30am. There is so much to see in Lundy Canyon, it really is one of the gems of the Eastern Sierra. I’ve put together this collection of photos from the 2017 season so far, and hope it inspires you to join us!

Lundy Canyon is home to some of the Eastern Sierra’s best birds, wildflowers, and waterfalls along Mill Creek, which flows down the canyon and into Mono Lake.

White rein orchid (Plantanthera leucostachys) blooming along Mill Creek in Lundy Canyon. Photo by Jennifer Rieke.

Nestled in the eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada, Lundy Canyon is a high-elevation canyon rising from Lundy Lake at 7,858 feet above sea level to the 11,770-foot Black Mountain.

Thanks to significant runoff this year, the Lundy Lake dam spilled over. Photo by Robbie DiPaolo.

Due to its high elevation, healthy riparian ecosystem and unique microclimate, Lundy Canyon offers a rich diversity of bird species. In spring and summer you can find a wide variety of breeding birds—from hummingbirds to Golden Eagles.

Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) sitting in her nest on the branch of a quaking aspen. Photo by Nora Livingston.

The aspen and willow trees surrounding Mill Creek provide excellent habitat for songbirds such as flycatchers, vireos, and a myriad of warblers.

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechial) singing. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Kronick.

The presence of pine trees in the area brings many of the classic Sierra Nevada specialties including tanagers, grosbeaks, finches, nutcrackers, and woodpeckers.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens). Photo courtesy of Nicholas Kronick.
This Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a favorite rarity found in Lundy Canyon. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Thanks to the huge snowpack in the Sierra this year, the flowers in Lundy Canyon are blooming like crazy!

Alpine lily (Lilium parvum). Photo by Jennifer Rieke, August.
Western monkshood (Aconitum columbianum). Photo by Jennifer Rieke.
Crimson columbine (Aquilegia formosa). Photo by Jennifer Rieke.
Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium). Photo by Jennifer Rieke.
Sierra angelica (Angelica lineariloba). Photo by Jennifer Rieke.

Lundy Canyon is also known for its resident bighorn sheep population—a rare but exciting sighting!

Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep on a talus slope in Lundy Canyon. Photo by Erv Nichols.

You may also get to see an American pine marten—a tree-climbing weasel that is diurnal (active during the day) in the summer months.

The American pine marten hanging in an aspen tree. Photo by Erv Nichols.

If you are interested in geology, there is much to admire in Lundy Canyon.  Few areas offer better examples of granite intrusion into the ancient red and black metamorphic slate.

Did you know that Lundy Canyon was covered by glaciers that scoured out the canyon? The Lundy Canyon glacier was between six and seven miles long, and about 1,000 feet deep! Keep your eyes out for hanging valleys, glacial lakes, and moraines while hiking in Lundy Canyon.

Lundy Canyon’s ancient metamorphic rock is some of the oldest in the Sierra. Photo by Jennifer Rieke.

Next time you visit the Mono Basin, take a hike up Lundy Canyon and enjoy the many wonders it has to offer. It’s not too late—fall is a great time to see the aspens change color. Or, join us for a Lundy Canyon bird walks every Saturday at 7:30am.

Be sure to stop in to the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore for up-to-date trail information and to record any wildlife sightings.