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.

Tundra Swan Phenomenon

On the second day of Christmas our gift was 562 Tundra Swans that swirled in and took refuge along the west shore of Mono Lake. On December 27 at around 10:00 am holiday traffic marched past on 395, but no one took notice of the large, snow-like mounds in the water. Along a pullout between the brine shrimp plant and the Tioga Lodge you could see a bevy of Tundra Swans stretched out along the shoreline and hear their high-pitched hooting and yodeling. In the spotting scope I carefully counted 562. Tundra Swans occasionally stray into the Mono Basin this time of year but never in such numbers. A rare Mono Lake event to end the year!

Tundra Swans at Mono Lake. Photo by Bartshe Miller.
Tundra Swans at Mono Lake. Photo by Bartshe Miller.