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Refreshing ‘Ologists: A new detection of the threatened Sierra Nevada red fox

July 7th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake Intern

Join us on Wednesday, July 10 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation. Brian Hatfield, California Department of Fish & Wildlife researcher, will be here to discuss recent detection of the Sierra Nevada red fox in California. Please register here if you can attend this free event!

A Sierra Nevada red fox detected by remote camera in Mono Creek. Photo courtesy of Brian Hatfield.

The Sierra Nevada red fox (SNRF) is a subspecies of red fox native to the high-elevation regions of California and Oregon. Until recently … more »

Join us on a bird walk in Lundy Canyon

July 6th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

Lundy Canyon, with its stunning talus slope walls, waterfalls, and wildflowers, is brimming with bird life! Please join us there for a free bird walk every Saturday at 8:00am.

A House Wren removing a fecal sac from its cavity nest. Photo courtesy of Rick Spanel.

We meet in front of the Lundy Lake Resort and the walk lasts about an hour and a half to two hours. The walk begins in willow and cottonwood habitat, transitions into a mixed riparian woodland, and ends at a beaver pond … more »

See chipmunks, kangaroo rats, and more up close on the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar

July 5th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Small mammals like kangaroo rats, chipmunks, squirrels, and mice live all around us here in the Mono Basin, but it’s often tough to get a good look at them. If you’re interested in seeing the Mono Basin’s small mammals up close (you might even get to hold one!), sign up now for the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar.

Mono Basin Mammals • July 19–21 • $182 per person/$167 for members • view full itinerary here • sign up here

See the small, furry mammals of the Mono Basin up close during this field seminar. Photo by Joslyn Rogers.

If you have never seen the tuft on a kangaroo rat’s tail, been able to compare the stripes of different chipmunk species, or watched families of pikas busily gathering grass for the winter … more »

Free bird walks at Mono Lake County Park have begun

July 5th, 2019 by Krista, Birding Intern

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join us for a free bird walk at Mono Lake County Park at 8:00am on Fridays and Sundays.

A male Northern Flicker in its cavity nest. Both sexes take turns with egg incubation. Photo courtesy of Rick Spanel.

The dawn chorus has been offering a beautiful mix of Western Meadowlarks, House Wrens, Yellow Warblers, Bullock’s Orioles, and many more feathered friends. Other exciting observations have included multiple Wilson’s Snipes and a few Wilson’s Phalaropes (MANY more phalaropes to come later). … more »

Following Mill Creek water rights

July 3rd, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy Director

Mill Creek, Mono Lake’s third-largest tributary, is unique in the Mono Basin because it was never diverted to Los Angeles. Mill Creek is also the heart of one of the Eastern Sierra’s natural treasures, Lundy Canyon, where it flows from the Sierra crest through waterfalls, fields of wildflowers, and beaver dams, into and out of Lundy Lake Reservoir, and through rare wooded wetlands before it reaches Mono Lake.

Mill Creek and the Wilson system flow through the north part of the Mono Basin. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Upper Mill Creek is healthy as evidenced by streamside forests and flows consistent with other Eastern Sierra streams. But downstream of Lundy Reservoir—especially in the … more »

Celebrating World Migratory Bird Day with local students

July 2nd, 2019 by Rose, Education Director

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was established in 1993 to connect people who live in important migratory bird wetland habitats from across the globe. It is a celebration of these various ecosystems, the birds that inhabit them, and the people who are trying to help save these wetlands.

Lee Vining Elementary School students birding at the County Park boardwalk for World Migratory Bird Day. Photo by Rose Nelson.

This spring the Mono Lake Committee partnered with students from our local Lee Vining Elementary School to celebrate WMBD and discuss this year’s theme:  Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution. The goal of WMBD 2019 is to … more »

The sound of the fury

July 1st, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant

There are a number of ways to picture from afar the torrent of water heading downhill from the Sierra Nevada toward Mono Lake right now. One is to review data on the rapidly dwindling snowpack at Tioga Pass, some of which is destined for the lake.  Another is to check in on DWP’s real time streamflow monitoring, which quantifies in cubic feet per second how much water the creeks are carrying. And depending on shadows and leaf, it is even possible to glimpse Mill Creek itself from an overhead webcam.

All of these tools provide critical information for the Mono Lake Committee, DWP, and stream scientists. But they also all seem sterile in comparison to actually standing next to a creek flowing at 50, 100, or even 350 cubic feet per second. The reason, I think, is that they have no sound. And to traipse along one of the swollen creeks pouring out of the Sierra and into the Mono Basin this summer is to be awash in sound.

The author recording Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Kevin Brown.

To capture this auditory landscape, I spent a recent morning along the Lee Vining Creek Trail—not a half-mile from the Committee office—with my microphone, headphones, and field recorder. … more »

It’s the season for interpretive activities at Mono Lake

June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake Intern

Summer is a busy time in the Mono Basin, and the birds aren’t the only ones making the most of the warmer temperatures and longer days! Whether it is your first or fiftieth visit to the area, there are a variety of exciting interpretive programs for the whole family available at and near Mono Lake this summer.

Join a 10:00am or 6:00pm free South Tufa tour to learn about Mono Lake from a naturalist guide. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Gain an understanding of the ecology and history of the lake by stopping by charismatic South Tufa for one of the free, hour-long tours at 10:00am and 6:00pm every day, where you’ll have the hands-on opportunity to get to know the fascinating ecosystem and political history of the lake with the guidance of a naturalist. While the tours are free, South Tufa is … more »

Genny Smith memorial naturalist hikes

June 29th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Join us on July 13 and August 24 for hikes in memory of naturalist Genny Smith. Photo courtesy of Andrew Aldrich.

Genny Smith was the Naturalist Queen of the Eastern Sierra. She wandered many Eastern Sierra trails in search of flowers, birds, mammals, and quiet serenity, and in turn learned about the important interactions between all of the life in these habitats and the ancient geology that sets the stage. These experiences inspired her … more »

Tioga Pass to open fully on Monday, July 1

June 27th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass will open fully on Monday, July 1 at 8:00am. Until the full opening on Monday morning vehicular access will continue to be available at 10:00–11:00am and 3:00–4:00pm.

A view of the Tioga Pass area from the slopes of Mt. Dana on June 23, 2019. Photo by Joslyn Rogers.

July 1 is one of the latest dates for Tioga Pass to fully open, and later than in 2017 when the road opened on June 29 with more snow in the high country that year than this year. This is only the fifth time it has opened fully in July since record keeping began in 1933—other July opening dates happened in … more »

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