2017-07-12 Mono Lake Birds

Green-Tailed Towhee - Pipilo chlorurus

This morning I headed toward Sonora Pass. California Route 108 traverses the Sierra Nevada range from the Gold Country on the west to the eastern Sierras near Bridgeport. The road from June Lake passes Lee Vining and Mono Lake. There is a roadside picnic area at the northwestern shore of Mono Lake where I’ve found nice birds on past trips to this region. I stopped to investigate who I might meet on this morning. In my short visit I found Tree Swallows, Lazuli Buntings, Green-Tailed Towhees, Bullock’s Orioles, Yellow Warblers, Brewer’s Blackbirds and Mono Lake’s most famous summer visitor, the California Gull.

Mono lake has been rising of late. With all the snowpack received this winter and restrictions on the water levels in the high elevation lakes, the creeks feeding into the lake are bursting their banks. Rush Creek (from June Lakes) and Lee Vining Creek (From Tioga Pass) have washed out some of the roads around Mono Basin. Some of the gravel roads normally used to access South Tufa Beach are impassable. It is good to see Mono Lake looking healthy, though some of the tufa columns no longer stand as high out of the water.

I could have spent more than the hour and a half allotted, but I had miles to go before I sleep. Next stop: Bridgeport.

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