July 7th, 2019 by Ellie, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: Ellie, Mono Lake InternName: Ellie Neifeld Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Ellie grew up in Oakland, but spent most of her summers exploring the Sierra Nevada and falling in love with the Mono Basin at a young age. Her first rock climbing trip to Yosemite in 2011 kindled her passion for climbing, which has kept her returning to the Sierra year after year. She recently completed a degree in Earth and Oceanographic Science at Bowdoin College and is excited to immerse herself in the natural history of Mono Lake. When not geologizing or climbing, Ellie can be found lying on granite slabs, painting, and dancing.See All Posts by Ellie (13) Contact Ellie
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 »
July 6th, 2019 by Krista, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Krista, Birding InternName: Krista Fanucchi Title: Birding Intern About: A Bay Area native, Krista began exploring the Sierra Nevada at an early age and eventually landed her first seasonal position in Yosemite in 2009. After obtaining her BS in Geography and a minor in GIS from Portland State University, she was fortunate enough to receive a handful of positions researching and banding songbirds and Raptors in Yosemite, Point Reyes National Seashore, and on a windy butte near Mt. Hood in Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys exploring, reading, and painting pictures of both every day and peculiar things.See All Posts by Krista (4) Contact Krista
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 »
July 5th, 2019 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California's Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (340) Contact Elin
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.
July 5th, 2019 by Krista, Birding InterncloseAuthor: Krista, Birding InternName: Krista Fanucchi Title: Birding Intern About: A Bay Area native, Krista began exploring the Sierra Nevada at an early age and eventually landed her first seasonal position in Yosemite in 2009. After obtaining her BS in Geography and a minor in GIS from Portland State University, she was fortunate enough to receive a handful of positions researching and banding songbirds and Raptors in Yosemite, Point Reyes National Seashore, and on a windy butte near Mt. Hood in Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys exploring, reading, and painting pictures of both every day and peculiar things.See All Posts by Krista (4) Contact Krista
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 »
July 3rd, 2019 by Lisa, Associate Policy DirectorcloseAuthor: Lisa, Associate Policy DirectorName: Lisa Cutting Title: Eastern Sierra Policy Director About: Lisa supports the policy team with her two decades of experience in Mono Basin policy issues. She concentrates on the north Mono Basin, Caltrans projects, restoration progress, and other focused policy issues. Lisa uses sleuthing-out good fly fishing spots as another excuse for hiking, and it's always a treat when her dog Tucker comes to visit the office!See All Posts by Lisa (36) Contact Lisa
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 »
July 2nd, 2019 by Rose, Education DirectorcloseAuthor: Rose, Education DirectorName: Rose Nelson Title: Education Director About: After graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2012, Rose worked as a botany research assistant at UC Berkeley, a Research Assistant for the California Department of Fish & Wildlife monitoring riparian plant species on rivers throughout California, and as a California State Parks interpreter. In 2017 she was here at Mono Lake as an Outdoor Education Instructor, and has now returned to oversee the Committee's education programs.See All Posts by Rose (5) Contact Rose
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 »
July 1st, 2019 by Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantcloseAuthor: Kevin, Information Center & Bookstore AssistantName: Kevin Brown Title: Information Center & Bookstore Assistant About: Kevin lived in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Qatar before finding his way to California. He spent the last several years working on a book about how an endangered desert fish managed to survive a tumultuous twentieth century in Death Valley National Park. He is excited to spend the summer in the Eastern Sierra!See All Posts by Kevin (3) Contact Kevin
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 »
June 30th, 2019 by AnnaLisa, Mono Lake InterncloseAuthor: AnnaLisa, Mono Lake InternName: AnnaLisa Mayer Title: Mono Lake Intern About: Raised amid Barred Owl voices and whispering beech leaves in Vermont's Green Mountains, AnnaLisa first came to the Mono Basin in 2016. Falling in love with the expansiveness of the West, she has since spent nearly 200 days immersed in California and Arizona's diverse backcountry. A naturalist at heart, AnnaLisa studied Ecology and Environmental Humanities at Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, VT. When not poking around in the depths of tiny flowers, she can be found making things with her hands, chasing crescent moons, and playing fiddle for the clouds.See All Posts by AnnaLisa (3) Contact AnnaLisa
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 »
June 29th, 2019 by Nora, Lead Naturalist GuidecloseAuthor: Nora, Lead Naturalist GuideName: Nora Livingston Title: Lead Naturalist Guide About: Nora is a passionate naturalist who got her interpretive start as a Mono Lake Intern in 2008 and went on to seven years of seasonal ornithologist work in the most beautiful corners of California and beyond. She has since led many popular birding field trips for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. It is her utmost joy to share her love of birds and nature with anyone and everyone to help foster a deeper respect for this unique planet.See All Posts by Nora (38) Contact Nora
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 »
June 27th, 2019 by Elin, Communications CoordinatorcloseAuthor: Elin, Communications CoordinatorName: Elin Ljung Title: Communications Coordinator About: Elin's job consists of some of her favorite things: finding typos, experimenting with layouts, and figuring out how best to communicate the Committee's work to the world. She also oversees the Field Seminar program. Elin grew up in on California's Central Coast dreaming of the two weeks each summer that her family would spend in the Eastern Sierra, and as soon as she graduated from St. Olaf College in 2005 she moved to Mono Lake full-time. She prefers to travel at high speed on either telemark skis or a mountain bike, or be completely still, immersed in a good book.See All Posts by Elin (340) Contact Elin
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 »