Birds and Other Wildlife Sightings

Welcome to The Mono-logue's "Birds and Other Wildlife Sightings" category! The emphasis of this category is birds, but other noteworthy wildlife sightings are encouraged also. Anyone that is logged-in can submit to this category!

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Join us on a free bird walk!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern

Looking for something fun to do on a weekend morning in the Mono Basin? The Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks offer free bird walks at 8:00am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer. Join a naturalist for a leisurely 2-hour excursion through some of the most productive bird habitats in the area. The Friday and Sunday morning walks are at Mono Lake County Park, and the Saturday morning walk explores Lundy Canyon. All experience levels are welcome! We’ll provide loaner binoculars if you don’t have a pair.

The lush riparian habitat at County Park is a great place to spot Western Tanagers. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Fridays and Sundays: Meet at Mono Lake County Park (5–10 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 5 miles, then turn right on Cemetery Road (signs for County Park/Mono Lake Access). Follow Cemetery Road for a 1/2-mile to the parking lot on the right.

Saturdays: Meet at the Lundy Lake Resort (15 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 7 miles, then turn left on Lundy Lake Road. Follow the Lundy Lake Road for 5 miles to the Lundy Lake Resort, where you can park on the shoulder just before the main cluster of buildings.

For more information, contact the Mono Lake Committee at (760) 647-6595, stop by the Information Center and Bookstore in Lee Vining, or email Birding Intern Nigel. We hope to see you out in the field!

Scanning for birds along Cemetery Road at County Park. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Returning a rescued Eared Grebe to Mono Lake

Thursday, April 19th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

On Monday, in the midst of a fiercely cold and windy snow storm, a traveling couple found an Eared Grebe in a snowbank on the side of Highway 395 near Deadman Summit. These compassionate souls scooped the small bird up into a towel and emptied their lunch out of their cooler and placed the bird inside. They drove on and brought the little guy into the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore to ask for our advice.

This male Eared Grebe in breeding plumage had flown into a snowbank, but was uninjured. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

Luckily, this is not our first rodeo. We know that Eared Grebes often try to land on wet asphalt because it reflects light and resembles a body of water. Perhaps it was too windy for this poor flyer to stay in the sky on his way north to his breeding grounds. (more…)

Seventeenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua

Monday, March 19th, 2018 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

Dust off your field guides and get ready to welcome the birds back to their summer breeding grounds! The seventeenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is June 15–17 this year.

This year’s event boasts one hundred exciting field trips, workshops, and presentations. We are also excited to announce the return of esteemed artist and naturalist John Muir Laws, who will be giving a presentation about how to think like a naturalist, as well as multiple drawing workshops and field trips.

Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay perched on a pinyon pine. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Remember, the Chautauqua supports bird research and conservation in the Eastern Sierra, so you can feel good about celebrating the rich diversity of birds of this region with field trips, friends, and fun!

The program information and grid schedule are all posted online, so it’s time to start planning your weekend. Hotels fill up quickly in the summer, so we recommend booking as early as possible.

Registration opens Sunday, April 15 at 6:30am. We encourage you to register online at that time if you have particular events you’d like to attend, as many classes fill almost instantaneously.

We hope to see you at the Chautauqua this year!

#GivefortheGrebes this #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 by Arya, Communications Director

This year for #GivingTuesday (November 28) we are fundraising for Eared Grebe surveys at Mono Lake!

First: There is a donation match! All donations made on Giving Tuesday through Facebook will be matched, thanks to Facebook’s charitable giving program. (And they’re not charging fees either.) Click here on Tuesday to #GivefortheGrebes via Facebook!

Then: Mark your calendar to catch our Facebook Live event at 12:30pm On Tuesday, November 28 down at the lake with Geoff, Robbie, and Maureen talking about Eared Grebe research and answering your questions. Tune in (more…)

Loon on Mono Lake

Thursday, December 1st, 2016 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 12/1/16

The only bird on Mono Lake (at a spot on the SW shore) this morning was a loon. Seemed strange that there wasn’t a grebe or duck in sight.

Hike Lee Vining Creek

Saturday, August 20th, 2016 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: Aug. 19 ,2016

Hike Lee Vining Trail from town to the visitor center on Friday 19. Great time, seen two Turkey Vulture’s sitting on dead cotton wood tree, Northern Flicker, Western Wood Pewee, several Clark’s Nutcracker, a flock of Chickadees, one Wren, two doves, and one Osprey sitting at the top of a willow tree.


Sunday, July 26th, 2015 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 7/21/2015

North of Coleville along 395, west side of highway. Male in full breeding plumage. Almost ran car off the road.

Chestnut-sided Warbler, other species

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: July 20

My group of six hikers and myself enjoyed excellent views of the adult male CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER on July 19 at 2:30 pm. We saw the bird well for about five minutes foraging in two whitebark pines adjacent to the trail. Undoubtedly this is the same bird found by Bob Power on June 28. It was in the exact location he described, a few hundred yards above Gemstone Lake where the trail switchbacks. It did not vocalize in the time we were observing it. We also saw two GRAY-CROWNED ROSY FINCHES on the east side of Helen Lake.

Other recent sightings include: a group of PINYON JAYS just west of the Mono Mills burn, south of Highway 120 on July 19. A MARBLED GODWIT, LONG-BILLED curlew. 2 SEMI-PALMATED AND 2 SNOWY PLOVERS at the shallow puddles east of Navy Beach on July 19. A CASPIAN TERN flying near the mouth of Rush Creek on July 17.

Swallows perching on road and bushes

Sunday, July 19th, 2015 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: 7/18/15

Just north of the Walker Creek diversion pond there were dozens of cliff swallows on the road and in the tops of bushes. Our approaching cars flushed them into the air, but as we left they settled back down in the tops of bushes. I haven’t seen this behavior before and suspect they were eating insects.

Identity Unknown

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 by tdomf_e48ef

Date of sighting: Sunday 14th June 2015

Took this photo during a recent visit and it’s only when I’ve been reviewing my photos at home that I spotted this bird! Does anyone have any ideas what it might be?

Pre-2009 Sightings