Please check back in March 2019


Program 2018

Programs highlighted in blue do not count towards your Chautauqua program total and are open to the public.


If an event you want to register for is FULL, please call us to be put on a waitlist (760) 647-6595.


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pre-Chautauqua Events

Stewardship project: Lundy Canyon trail repair (volunteer project)
Friends of the Inyo
Get out and give back to the land! What better way to kick off the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua than to help care for one of the Basin's premier birding locations? For this year's project we will work to repair a portion of the Lundy Canyon Trail that washed out in a mudslide this April. Friends of the Inyo will provide gloves, trash bags, and tools. Please bring sunscreen, wear close-toed shoes and work-appropriate clothing, and be prepared for the elements. No charge; all ages welcome.. No charge, open to all, camaraderie gratis. (est. driving miles 0-10)
Thursday 9:00am–12:30pm
Meet at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore
 

The High Sierra responds to a changing climate (presentation)
Joseph Lent, Char Miller, Connie Millar, Geoff McQuilkin, Ellery McQuilkin
The Mono Basin’s climate action group, 350 Mono, will present an afternoon of education on high elevation climate issues in the Eastern Sierra. Bird enthusiasts are invited to spend an extra day in the area, and attend a series of afternoon talks from experts on climate issues. We hope attendees will be inspired to take action in their own lives and communities to encourage climate progress. No charge and open to all.
Thursday 1:00pm–5:00pm

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium

001 Birding between the breweries (field trip; $80 additional program cost)
Nora Livingston & Justin Hite

Mono County is notable for spectacular scenery, great birding, and a growing collection of high-elevation breweries. Combine your love for birds and brews on this relaxed afternoon trip, which will introduce you to some great birding at a few local hotspots as well as great beer at some hotspots of another kind. Bring your binoculars, proof of age, and a thirst for birds (beginners and experts welcome alike). We will provide a fourteen-passenger van and a sober birding guide. One beverage per person per brewery is included in the program cost; participants may purchase additional beverages and food. Please drink responsibly. Does not count towards your registration limit.
Thursday 1:00pm–6:00pm
Meet at the Mobil Gas Station
 


Friday, June 15, 2018


101 Birding Mono’s south shore and beyond (field trip)
Justin Hite
Join long time Monophile Justin Hite to explore the south shore of Mono Lake including South Tufa and Navy Beach to look for cool shorebirds and waders as well as gulls and waterbirds. Then leave the exposed lakeshore habitat to cool off in the shade of the Jeffrey pine forest to look for Pinyon Jays, chickadees, and perhaps a Gray Flycatcher. This trip will venture out highway 120 east towards Big Sand Flat and beyond, with gorgeous views of granite towers and a delectable sea of sagebrush. (est. driving miles: 90; hiking difficulty: moderate)
Friday 6:00am–12:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


103 Birding meadows, moraines, & mountains (field trip)
Stephen A. Shunk
Join Oregon naturalist Steve Shunk as he explores the diverse habitats of Sawmill Canyon and Upper Walker Creek, just south of Lee Vining. See wrens, warblers, woodpeckers, and much more, with a chance to see or hear Mountain Quail. We will begin by driving up Sawmill Canyon to the Bloody Canyon trailhead campground. We will then hike up, over, and back down the southern lateral moraine above Walker Lake, exploring the lush wetlands at the head of the lake. The trip will involve 4 miles of hiking on good trails with mixed grades, up to nearly 8,200 feet in elevation. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: strenuous)
Friday 6:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


105 Crafty Corvids east of the crest (field trip) FULL
Nora Livingston & Michelle Desrosiers
Jays, magpies, nutcrackers, and ravens are the Eastside's intellectual avian trouble-makers and problem-solvers. These Corvids are known for their spatial memory, complex social interactions, and their elusiveness in the Mono Basin (well, some of them). On this field trip we will explore the habitats and natural history of as many of the local Corvids as possible, with a focus on finding Pinyon Jays and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays in the Rancheria Gulch area. (est. driving miles: 40, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 6:30am–12:00noon
Lee Vining Community Center

 

107 Birding the Bridgeport Valley (field trip)
Peter Metropulos
Bridgeport Reservoir sits within beautiful Bridgeport Valley between the Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater ranges. Waterfowl, grebes, terns, pelicans, and shorebirds grace the surface and shores of this popular fishing reservoir. Join Peter for an exploration of the wetlands and lake habitat of Bridgeport Reservoir. After birding along the eastern shore of the reservoir we will head north, pausing here and there to investigate the riparian corridor and pinyon pine woodland bordering the East Walker River along Highway 182. In 2008 a pair of Sandhill Cranes nested at Bridgeport Reservoir—a new record for Mono County documented by Peter! (est. driving miles: 70, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center

 

109 Birding DeChambeau Ponds & Ranch (field trip) FULL
Oliver James
Fresh water sources are few and far between in the Mono Basin. Every small pond, spring, or even a roadside puddle can act as a localized oasis in the vast sea of sagebrush. Join Oliver to scour some of these productive hotspots along Mono Lake’s north shore, namely DeChambeau Ranch, DeChambeau Ponds, and, time allowing, the County Ponds and on down to the Mono Lake shoals. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for waterbirds, breeding songbirds, and sagebrush specialists alike. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center

 

111 A safe place for dace: Restoring habitat for native fish at Benton Ponds (field trip) FULL
Kay Ogden & Sara Kokkelenberg
Did you know that Mono Lake wasn’t always fishless? About 750 thousand years ago, prehistoric Mono Lake – and its fish – drained southeast all the way to Owens Valley. On this new trip, see what the flood wrought as we take a tour of Eastern Sierra Land Trust’s Benton Hot Springs Ranch Conservation Easement. This 900-acre property contains wetlands, meadows, and high desert located in the Blind Spring Valley of southeastern Mono County. On this tour we will take you to a private ranch to observe a variety of birds and a major restoration project to conserve the Owens speckled dace. Learn about how prescribed fire, flooding, and native plant restoration can help give this rare fish a chance. Springs, seeps, and ponds create wetland habitat here that supports migrating waterfowl and songbirds, springsnails, and many other species. Keep an eye out for grebes, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and herons. (est. driving miles: 130, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center
Approximately 1.5 hour drive each way to Benton Hot Springs Conservation Easement


113 Birding McGee Canyon (field trip) FULL
Tom Hahn
McGee is a spectacular, colorful metamorphic canyon with a strong creek running through it. The hike begins at about 8,000 feet in sagebrush where Brewer’s Sparrows and Green-tailed Towhees are common. After a short climb, the trail passes several clumps of water birch and aspen with side streams where birds and butterflies gather. The trail heads gradually up into junipers and limber pines with Clark’s Nutcrackers and Townsend’s Solitaires. Dippers are frequently seen on the creek. After a tricky creek crossing, the trail winds through hemlocks and lodgepoles to a shallow beaver pond. The hike is moderate with some stream crossings and a great variety of birds and plants. Bring a lunch. (est. driving miles: 80, hiking difficulty: moderate to strenuous)
Friday 7:00am–2:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


115 Mono’s forgotten tributary: Water, wildlife, and history of Dry Creek (field trip) FULL
Paul McFarland
East of Mono Lake's well-traveled tributaries, a mysterious creek flows (sometimes) north from the world's largest Jeffrey Pine forest down (literally) into bitterbrush and alkali flats. This trip will explore the unique and rarely traveled canyon formed by Dry Creek—an ephemeral stream carving a deep canyon through the gently sloping northwest slope of the Glass Mountains. With a couple of short strolls (less than 1 mile each) on and off forest dirt roads, we'll take a holistic journey through the natural and cultural history of old-growth Jeffries, young lodgepole forests, and shimmering aspen groves accompanied by the incidental music of this hidden stream. We'll probably see a diverse passel of birdies, too. Please bring water and a snack; expect 45 miles of stunningly scenic round trip driving. (est. driving miles: 45, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 7:00am–12:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


117 Mountains & birds: Birding the Virginia Lakes basin (field trip) FULL
Kristie Nelson
This half-day trip will explore habitats and avifauna of the local montane region. We’ll begin in the aspen and conifer riparian ecosystem along Virginia Creek and its adjacent sagebrush-steppe. We’ll continue on to the Virginia Lakes area, an elevation of near 10,000 feet (drivable). We hope to see a diverse assemblage of birds, and the scenery should be memorable. Species we may encounter include Western Tanager, Mountain Chickadee, Fox Sparrow (Sierra Nevada sub-species), and more. If luck is with us, we may see more elusive species like Western Flycatcher, Red Crossbill, or Gray-crowned Rosy-finch. (est. driving miles: 40, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Friday 7:00am–12:00noon
Lee Vining Community Center


119 Lundy Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
Scott Dietrich
We will head up Lundy Canyon with open minds regarding what we may see, enjoying the wonderful assemblage of breeding birds in this Eastern Sierra drainage. The mixture of open water, riparian, coniferous, and sagebrush habitats found in this canyon attracts a nice diversity of birds, and these habitats are quite accessible via the main road and short trails along the creek. Since it will be the heart of nesting season, we will likely spend some time observing birds at various stages of their breeding cycles. Among the birds to be expected are sapsuckers, woodpeckers, pewees, vireos, jays, nuthatches, creepers, wrens, chickadees, grosbeaks, swallows, warblers, tanagers, juncos, towhees, sparrows, and finches. We will be walking mostly on dirt roads/trails with some light off-trail walking possible. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


121 Birding Burger's Retreat (field trip) FULL
Susan Steele
We’ll drive up and over a steep moraine out of Lee Vining Canyon on our way to a privately-owned secluded nature reserve only a short distance from the masses of visitors passing through Yosemite. We’ll stroll through a rich variety of habitats including sagebrush, meadow, willow thickets, aspen groves, conifers, and outcroppings of rocks. Green-tailed Towhee, woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, and many others may make an appearance. (est. driving miles: 6, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 7:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center

 

123 Yosemite high country transect (field trip) FULL
Pete Devine
We’ll make our first stop at Tioga Pass, the highest highway pass in California, so we can get a taste of the Sierra Nevada’s alpine zone. A short walk in the thin air here may turn up White-crowned Sparrow, Prairie Falcon, Lewis’ Woodpecker, or even an alpine American Robin, far from the suburbs. From here we descend to Tuolumne Meadows for a longer walk that will include lodgepole forest, riparian zones, open meadows, and some lively ponds. Clark’s Nutcracker, Pine Grosbeak, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Mountain Bluebird are prospects here. Further west we’ll make stops at Tenaya Lake, Olmsted Point, and the Snow Creek area in hopes of encountering Sooty Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, and the song of the Hermit Thrush. Bring a lunch, water, warm layers, and a full gas tank. We’ll aim to picnic at a scenic spot and see what birds come to us. Strong sunscreen, UV sunglasses, and a sun hat are important equipment for the high elevations. We’ll be driving Highway 120 as far west as Porcupine Flat. The park entry fee will be waived for this educational excursion. (est. driving miles: 70, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Friday 7:30am–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


125 Walk quietly & carry a big lens (field trip)
Santiago Escruceria
Join Santiago for an easily accessible and gentle stroll next to a beautiful riparian corridor to photograph birds. With our own cameras we will shoot for orioles, finches, wrens, swallows, Osprey, and eagles. We will investigate basic technique and take advantage of morning light. (est. driving miles: 22, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


127 Learning to listen: Birding by ear for beginners (field trip)
Karyn “Kestrel” O’Hearn
This is a field trip/workshop for those who want to begin to identify birds by sound. We will develop listening skills while exploring Lee Vining Canyon. Lee Vining Creek drains from the high alpine mountains of Yosemite and Tioga Pass down through the canyon and out into the arid sagebrush scrub surrounding Mono Lake, offering breathtaking views as well as a wide variety of habitats and a diversity of bird sounds. The goal of this trip is to begin to identify common bird sounds, distinguish between some basic bird song patterns, introduce various ways to “see” a bird song, and link what you are hearing with what you see. Bring your notebook, pencil, binoculars, and ears. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


129 Birding Lee Vining Canyon (field trip) FULL
Will Richardson & Sarah Hockensmith
Lee Vining Canyon is one of the Eastern Sierra’s premier birding locations. It offers a variety of habitats and breathtaking views. Of particular interest is the habitat progression as Lee Vining Creek drains from the high alpine mountains of Yosemite and Tioga Pass down through the canyon and out into the arid sagebrush scrub surrounding Mono Lake. American Dipper, Townsend’s Solitaire, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and nuthatches are among the many species that we may see. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center

131 Field Sketching Birds (field trip) FULL
John Muir (Jack) Laws
How can field sketching help us become more observant birders? Jack Laws will lead us on a bird walk while also demonstrating how scientific illustration and quick field sketches can help develop the eye’s ability to see nature. Jack will also give us tips for quickly catching the shape and color of birds in the wild. The goal is not to create a pretty picture, but to help make us more observant while documenting our birding experiences. No previous drawing experience is necessary. Bring a sketch pad and pencil.
Friday 7:30am–10:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


133 Birding the wildflowers (field trip) FULL
Ann Howald
The location for this wildflower walk will be selected just before the Chautauqua begins to take advantage of the best place for flowers. This may mean a return to Lundy Canyon, or we may visit another location. Along with the flowers, stops for birds are frequent. Plan on a walk of about 2 miles with a modest elevation gain. Bring lunch and plenty of water. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 8:00am–12:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


135 Birding the Lakes Canyon trail (field trip)
Ryan DiGaudio
This hike begins in the sagebrush at the Lundy Lake dam at about 7,800 feet in elevation and will take us steadily uphill above the south shore of the lake through willows, aspen, and conifer groves. Because of the variety of habitats we’ll be visiting we should see and hear a variety of bird species, including multiple species of warblers, Fox Sparrows, Brewer’s Sparrows, Cassin’s Finches, woodpeckers, Warbling Vireos, and others. We will not trek all the way to the lakes but will stop at an elevation of about 8,800 feet near the wilderness boundary. This is up to 3 miles of hiking round trip with spectacular views of lakes, streams, and high peaks.  (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: moderate to strenuous)
Friday 8:00am–12:00noon
Lee Vining Community Center


137 Birding for beginners (field trip)
Lacey Greene
Are you new to watching birds? Or are you perhaps the partner of an avid birder, willing to go along but not ready to call yourself a birder? Do you maybe have a cast-off pair of binoculars but don’t understand what the numbers on them mean, or how to use them? And what’s with bird books: why aren’t the birds alphabetized? If some of the Chautauqua offerings seem over your head or beyond your patience, this is the program for you! We’ll go over some basic binocular information, practice using this equipment, and check out some different bird guides. We will be outdoors for this workshop. As we wander, we’ll look at some of the more common birds in and around Mono Lake, practice identifying them, and learn about their fascinating natural history. Mono Lake County Park and the DeChambeau Ponds are our territory, and we should see several varieties of woodpeckers, songbirds, swallows, and blackbirds. This workshop is geared towards ages 10 and up. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 8:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


139 Bennettville birding (field trip)
Karen Amstutz
Come look for birds 9,700 feet above the sea! High in the mountains this 2.5-mile trail winds its way through red metamorphic rocky benches, past blue-green tarns and ruins from the days of the Great Sierra Consolidated Mining Company. A flurry of development had this region growing from 1882 to 1884 though no gold was ever found. Here some unique birds breed while others pass through on their way to lower elevations. Let’s search for the ghosts and see what birds dare to spend summers way up here. Summer residents include Cassin’s Finch, White-crowned Sparrow, Clark’s Nutcracker, Chipping Sparrow, Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Spotted Sandpiper, Northern Goshawk, and possibly some surprises. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Friday 8:30am–1:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


141 Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep afield (field trip)
John Wehausen
Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are a separate subspecies of bighorn sheep that have state and federal endangered status. They were introduced to the Mono Basin in 1986. In mid-June rams are usually in Lundy Canyon and it may be possible to spot ewes with new lambs from the trail. John Wehausen will lead a group there and discuss the history and challenges of restoration efforts for these sheep. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: strenuous)
Friday 8:30am–1:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


143 Birds of the red fir-lodgepole pine forest (field trip)FULL
David Wimpfheimer
The expansive forest of red fir, lodgepole, and Jeffrey pine surrounding Deadman Creek and Summit is the destination for this field trip. These conifers, and more importantly, their cones and seeds, provide critical feeding habitat for many finches, woodpeckers, warblers, and other birds. Uncommon species like Williamson’s Sapsucker, plus White-headed and Black-backed Woodpeckers can be found here among the more expected Hairy Woodpecker and Northern Flicker. Depending on the seed crop, Red Crossbills can be moderately common in the pines. Cassin’s Finch and Pine Siskin are the common breeding finches here, but we’ll also be searching for Evening and Pine Grosbeaks. The diversity in the area is augmented by aspen groves and streamside willow stands where Green-tailed Towhee, Fox Sparrow, and Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s Warblers breed. The field trip will consist of several short walks in which we focus on identification and behavior of a wide variety of birds. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 1:00pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


145 Birding Lower Parker Canyon (field trip) FULL
Santiago Escruceria
Join Santiago on this leisurely bird walk on level terrain through lower Parker Canyon. We will explore riparian and meadow habitats in this quiet region of the Mono Basin. We may encounter a good variety of birds from Red-breasted Sapsucker to Mountain Bluebird and warblers to Long-eared Owl (no promises). Be prepared to walk a couple of flat, mostly shaded miles and to enjoy spectacular views of the Sierra crest and Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 1:00pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


147 Birding the Inyo Craters (field trip) FULL
Nigel Bates
This trip will take a leisurely stroll through an old growth Jeffrey pine forest looking for conifer specialists including nuthatches, woodpeckers, finches, and more. The destination is the Inyo Craters, a few of the region’s young volcanic features formed by violent steam eruptions. The craters fill with snowmelt and offer a landing spot for migratory waterbirds. The nearby willows and other vegetation provide great habitat for warblers to forage in and hummingbirds to perch in. Likely special species are White-headed Woodpecker, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Red Crossbill, and Cassin’s Finch but a variety of species is expected. (est. driving miles: 50, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 1:00pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


151 Touring policy hot spots
Geoff McQuilkin
Join Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin for a tour of the Mono Basin with discussions focusing on hot public policy and management topics as well as current water conditions and what they means for Mono Lake and the tributary streams. Stops will include Mono Lake’s streams to see the effects last year’s wet winter had on their restoration, Los Angeles aqueduct infrastructure, and the lakeshore to discuss lake level fluctuations. Geoff will describe the Committee’s role in forecasting and documenting the changes we’re seeing and will explain the work ahead to continue to safeguard Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 40, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 1:00pm–4:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


153 Bird sounds part 1 (indoor workshop) FULL
Roy Poucher
Bird songs are nature’s music and we can plug into this magic no matter how good we are at finding birds with our eyes. These sounds are already coming at us from 360 degrees. The focus of this workshop is to increase our birding enjoyment by improving our skills as auditory birders. Some prior experience trying to identify birds by ear will surely be useful, but motivation to learn trumps experience with this; folks of all experience levels are welcome. We will explore the principles of describing bird vocalizations in general as well as become familiar with specific vocalizations of common birds in the Mono Basin area. This workshop is a prerequisite for the Saturday and Sunday Bird sounds field studies.
Friday 1:00pm–4:30pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center conference room


155 Lee Vining Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
John Muir (Jack) Laws
Lee Vining Canyon is one of the Eastern Sierra’s premier birding locations. It offers a variety of habitats and breathtaking views. Of particular interest is the habitat progression as Lee Vining Creek drains from the high alpine mountains of Yosemite and Tioga Pass down through the canyon and out into the arid, sage-scrub surrounding Mono Lake. American Dippers, Townsend’s Solitaires, Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, and nuthatches are among the many species that we may see on this lovely afternoon trip. (est. driving miles: 15; hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 1:00pm–4:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center

157 Lundy Canyon: A rich history (field trip) FULL
Linda LaPierre
Join Linda on a historic talk of the mining town of Lundy, located at the head of beautiful Lundy Lake, which will include many old photos (a sort of primitive power point). Then the group will take a walk up Lundy Canyon with frequent stops to discuss mining history and some of the natural features (with more photos) of this special place. (est. driving miles: 30, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 1:00pm–4:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


159 Fly casting clinic (outdoor workshop)
Trout Unlimited
Have you always wanted to learn how to cast a fly fishing rod? Or improve your current casting stroke? Members of the Eastern Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited will provide a free fly casting demonstration clinic that will help you improve regardless of your current level of experience. This clinic is open to all ages from beginners to advanced casters. Rods and reels will be provided or you can bring your own equipment. No charge and open to all. (Zero driving)
Friday 1:00pm–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


161 Birding Lower Lee Vining Creek (field trip) FULL
Oliver James
Below the town of Lee Vining is a winding riparian swath rich with cottonwoods, aspen, and willows, which entice orioles, tanagers, warblers, and more in the summer. This afternoon trip will walk the 2 mile Lee Vining Creek trail loop and then head down to lower Lee Vining Creek and the Lee Vining Creek delta, where the fresh water joins the salty lake and creates a lush habitat for blackbirds and flycatchers, buntings and sparrows, and where waterbirds bathe in the crystal clear creek. (est. driving miles: 15, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Friday 1:30pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


163 Lundy Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
Kirk Hardie
We will head up Lundy Canyon with open minds regarding what we may see, enjoying the wonderful assemblage of breeding birds of this Eastern Sierra drainage. The mixture of open water, riparian, coniferous, and sagebrush habitats found in this canyon attracts a nice diversity of birds, and these habitats are quite accessible via the main road and short trails along the creek. Since it will be the heart of nesting season, we will likely spend some time observing birds at various stages of their breeding cycles. Among the birds to be expected include sapsuckers, woodpeckers, pewees, vireos, jays, nuthatches, creepers, wrens, chickadees, grosbeaks, swallows, warblers, tanagers, juncos, towhees, sparrows, and finches. We will be walking mostly on dirt roads/trails with some light off-trail walking possible. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 1:30pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


165 Lakeshore family adventure (family field trip)
Michael Ross
Cool off in the afternoon heat as you investigate and compare the waters of Mono Lake and Lee Vining creek. Observe brine shrimp, alkali flies, and birdlife along the lakeshore. Discover aquatic insects and songbirds along the creek. Bring towels and appropriate clothes and footwear for wading or even swimming. Open to kids of all ages and parents. No charge and open to all. (est. driving miles: 10, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 1:30pm–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


167 Southwestern Willow Flycatcher in the Owens and Mono Basins (presentation)
Lacey Greene
Did you know that roughly one quarter of all known endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatchers (SWIFL) nest here in the Owens Valley? Get to know SWIFL and the results of a three year study on their local distribution and abundance. This talk includes tips to identification by sight and sound as well as descriptions of local migratory and nesting habitat. Come hear about the trials and tribulations of nesting SWIFLs - a story of polygyny, nest parasitism, orange fungus, defoliation and fledging. Find out what we know and don't know about local threats to the species and ongoing conservation efforts. Fall in love with this understated and underappreciated little grey bird. No charge and open to all.
Friday 2:00pm–3:00pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium

 

169 Watershed commonwealths: A future for the climate-changed West? (presentation)
Char Miller
The west is in the grip of an enduring drought, a partial consequence of climate-changed realities. How can we live more sustainably and justly in a region of diminished precipitation? Drawing on arguments old and new, environmental historian Char Miller will make a case for us thinking like, and living within, our watersheds.
Friday 3:30pm–4:30pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium

171 Seventeenth annual gala dinner & gathering FULL
Zac Creager & Sierra Gourmet Backcountry Catering
Join us early Friday evening at the Lee Vining Community Center as we kick off our seventeenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua! Meet old friends, chat with field trip leaders and presenters, socialize, eat, and make merry. Dinner will be prepared by local caterer Zac Creager with Sierra Gourmet Backcountry Catering.

Menu:
Grilled Red Rub Mary's Free Range Chicken
Grilled Bloody Mary Skirt Steak
Grilled Bell Peppers, Summer Squash, Poblano Peppers, Portobello Mushrooms
Organic Homemade Refried Pinto Beans and Vegan Black Beans
Organic Corn and Flour Tortillas
Cotija/Queso Fresco Cheese
Spring Mix/Little Gem Salad with Mexican Caesar Dressing/ Dairy Free Vinaigrette 
Organic Homemade Tortilla Chips
Freshly made Guacamole
Roasted/Salted Pepitas
Heirloom Tomato and Roasted Corn Pico De Gallo
Salsa Chipotle
Salsa Pepita Tostada
Freshly Sliced Limes
Sour Cream
Smoked Jalapeños

Strawberry Mint Lemonade, Iced Tea, Agua Fresca de Pepino (Cucumber Water)

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies, Chocolate Pepita Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Organic Hand Whipped Cream

Friday 5:00pm–7:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center
$35 additional program cost


The gala dinner is a separate à la carte event. You can register friends and family.


173 Twilight birding (field trip) FULL
Chris McCreedy and Michelle Desrosiers
Late June brings some of the longest and most active birding days of the year in the Mono Basin. Get ready for an early evening adventure of birding into the dusk. We will ply some active birding spots in the Mono Basin for early evening activity that may include nighthawks, poorwills, and Winnowing Snipes. We may even search for an owl or two once daylight is extinguished. We will use our ears as well as our eyes in this nearby bird outing. Bring layered clothing for cooler weather after the sun sets. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 7:00pm–9:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


175 Twilight birding 2 (field trip) FULL
Ryan DiGaudio
This program will wind its way up Lundy Canyon as the twilight sets in. Get ready for an early evening adventure of birding into the dusk. We will ply some active birding spots for early evening activity that may include poorwills, bats, and, if you’re lucky, a beaver. We may even search for an owl or two once daylight is extinguished. We will use our ears as well as our eyes in this nearby bird outing. Bring layered clothing for cooler weather after the sun sets and please bring a headlamp or flashlight. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Friday 7:00pm–9:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


177 Bats in Lee Vining Canyon (field trip) FULL
Burleigh Lockwood and NPS staff
Join Burleigh Lockwood and Yosemite National Park acoustic monitoring interns on a bat walk at Lee Vining Canyon. While waiting for the evening to turn into night, Burleigh will beguile us with a captivating introduction into the biologic and behavioral world of bats. We will then head out to Lee Vining Canyon to "see" the bats. We will be using Sonobat Live acoustical monitoring equipment. This will allow us to identify each bat by species through an almost instantaneous analysis of their ultrasonic echolocation calls as they fly over. (est. driving miles: 10; hiking difficulty: easy)
Friday 7:30pm–10:00pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center conference room


179 Public lands stewardship: A century of controversy (presentation)
Char Miller
The history of the US public lands—our national forests, grasslands, parks, and refuges—is fraught. Once the territory of native peoples, the US laid claim to them well before white settlers pressed west. But controlling these vast landscapes was as complicated for the US Army as it would be for those civilian, professional rangers who have stewarded these lands since the late 19th Century. Using the complex history of the US Forest Service as case study for some of the similar challenges facing the Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and BLM, Char Miller will probe the dilemmas and opportunities that have shaped the oldest federal land-management agency over time.
Friday 7:30pm–8:30pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium


181 What is a woodpecker? (presentation) FULL
Steve Shunk
Woodpeckers represent one of the most specialized and most charismatic bird families in the world. But, what makes them so special? And, how did they become woodpeckers? Join North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk as he tells the story of woodpecker evolution over the last 50 million years. Steve will also discuss woodpecker taxonomy and nomenclature, from the advent of systematics to the modern science of DNA. Most importantly, Steve will translate these technical and often mind-numbing disciplines into language that birders and nature lovers can understand, enhancing your appreciation for some of the world's coolest birds.
Friday 7:30pm–8:30pm
Mono Lake Committee Theater & Gallery


183 Enchanted evening: Stories & stars on the lakeshore (evening presentation)
Ane Carla Rovetta & Savannah Boiano
In the days before internet, TV, and radio, there were more Chautauquas, campfires, and storytelling. We bring them all together under the splendor of a dark Mono Basin sky where stories and stars come alive. Master storyteller Ane Carla will usher in the creatures of the night with her vivid and illuminating natural history stories and legends. Sequoia Parks Conservancy Executive Director Savannah Boiano will lead us across the night sky for an evening of astronomical wonder. Bring a blanket or low chair and dress warmly. This program is open to humans of all ages! (est. driving miles: 22)
Friday 8:00pm–9:30pm
South Tufa: From Lee Vining, drive approximately 5 miles south on Highway 395. Turn left on Highway 120 East and travel another 5 miles to the South Tufa/Navy Beach turn-off. Turn left following the signs to the left toward the South Tufa parking lot.



Saturday, June 16, 2018


201 The road less birded: Benton Crossing Road (field trip) FULL
Peter Metropulos
Join Peter on an adventurous journey to some secret spots off the beaten track. Starting at Layton Springs at the northeast side of Crowley Lake Reservoir we will head east through vast expanses of pinyons and sage to Wildrose Canyon, an isolated riparian corridor/aspen grove in the Glass Mountain Range. Eventually we will make our way to the historic old “town” of Benton Hot Springs. Finally we will loop back toward the Mono Basin on Highway 120 through the Adobe Valley. What to expect: gorgeous scenery, interesting and unique birds, awesome rock formations, and a historic old town. What NOT to expect: public restrooms, gas stations, food, stores, or cell phone reception. Short, easy to moderate walking near vehicle stops; bring lunch, snacks, and plenty of water (est. driving miles: 120; hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 6:00am–3:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


203 DeChambeau to Virginia Lakes (field trip) FULL
Nora Livingston & Oliver James
We’ve all seen how habitats change as you make your way up a mountain pass in the Eastern Sierra. Small changes in elevation can dramatically alter bird diversity and species richness within each habitat. In this field trip, we will explore two opposite sides of the Mono Basin habitat and elevation spectrum—lakeside marsh and sagebrush scrub (~6,500 feet above sea level) and high elevation sub-alpine habitat (~9,770 feet) at Virginia Lakes—as well as a few stops in between with the intention of seeing a diversity of species in these vastly different habitats. We will start low in search of sagebrush birds like Sage Thrasher, Green-tailed Towhee, Sagebrush Sparrow, and others, then work our way up to Virginia Lakes where we hope to see and hear Hermit Thrush, White-crowned Sparrow, Bald Eagle, and, if we are very lucky, catch a glimpse of the elusive Gray-crowned Rosy-finch. Bring a sack lunch and water for the day; we will be picnicking at the Virginia Lakes trailhead. (est. driving miles: 50; hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 6:00am–12:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center

 

205 Bird sounds part 2 (field study)
Roy Poucher
This field trip is the “hands-on” part 2 companion to the part 1 workshop on Friday afternoon. The goal is to solidify the general techniques explored on Friday, and provide practical experience with field identification of specific Mono Basin bird sounds. We will primarily be standing at different locations for short time segments, silently noting on paper what bird sounds we are individually hearing, and next, as a group, discussing, analyzing, and identifying these sounds. Though useful, binoculars are not necessary. Please bring a small notebook. The Friday afternoon bird sounds workshop is a prerequisite for this event. Total walking distance will be about 1.2 miles at an elevation of up to 9,000 ft. (est. driving miles: 28, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 6:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


207 Jewel of Mono: Rush Creek Delta (field trip) FULL
Justin Hite
We will take a leisurely one-mile hike through open sagebrush to the mouth of Rush Creek. Along the way we will pause to study birds typical of the Great Basin desert habitat. Once at the delta we will experience an awesome setting, watch birds coming in to bathe in the fresh water, and discuss the history of Rush Creek and its importance to the health of the ecosystem of Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 15, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 6:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center


209 Big Day & more! Southern basin transect (field trip)
David Wimpfheimer
The main theme of this program is to observe a wide variety of birds by visiting several habitats. However, there is also a secondary focus on taking the time to appreciate plants and other aspects of the area’s rich natural history. The pace will be less frantic than other big day birding tours so there will be more time to focus on bird identification by sight, sound, and behavior. The group will concentrate on the southern part of the Mono Basin; from conifer forest above the June Lake Loop to riparian woodland, to sagebrush steppe and the Jeffrey pine burn area near Mono Mills. Please bring your hand-held radios for communication between vehicles if you have them. We will be out all day so be sure to bring lunch, sunscreen, and plenty of water. (est. driving miles: 110; hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 6:30am–4:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


211 Bodie Hills: Birds & blossoms (field trip) FULL
Jora Fogg & Ann Howald
The Bodie Hills form the northern boundary of the Mono Basin and provide habitat for Greater Sage-Grouse and many other birds and over 500 species of plants. The view from the crest of the range is one of the most awe-inspiring in all of the Eastern Sierra. We will spend the morning exploring the remains of two historic mine sites and bird in an old-growth aspen stand at Masonic. Then we’ll go over the Geiger Grade to the head of Aurora Canyon to look for birds of open shrub habitats, mule deer, and pronghorn. We should see Townsend’s Solitaire, MacGillivray’s Warbler, nesting House Wren and Warbling Vireo, and various nuthatches and woodpeckers, among others. Many wildflowers will be blooming, and we’ll look at those, too. Bring sunscreen, water, lunch, and good walking shoes. This trip involves extensive driving on dirt roads. (est. driving miles: 80, high clearance required; hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 6:30am–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center

 

213 Crowley Lake: Marshes, migrants, mountains, & mud (field trip)
Dave Shuford
Crowley Lake Reservoir, formed by the damming of the Owens River and cradled in the Long Valley Caldera, offers spectacular views of the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Glass Mountain and White Mountain ranges to the east. Besides its wetland habitats hosting a variety of breeding and migrant waterbirds, Crowley is nestled amid a mix of sagebrush, wet meadows, and small alkali lakes, with riparian and pinyon woodlands nearby. June is the peak of the breeding season, and we should see several species of nesting ducks, shorebirds, and grebes, plus perhaps some over-summering non-breeders or late or early migrants. We also will view the largest Bank Swallow colony in the Eastern Sierra, Common Nighthawks harvesting the insect-rich air space over the lake, and typical sagebrush denizens, such as Sage Thrashers, Brewer’s Sparrows, Sagebrush Sparrows, and, with luck, Loggerhead Shrikes and Greater Sage-Grouse. (est. driving miles: 90; hiking difficulty: easy, bring lunch, snacks, and plenty of water)
Saturday 6:30am–3:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


215 Birding the Bridgeport Valley (field trip)
Ted Beedy & Keith Hansen
Join Ted Beedy and Keith Hansen for an exploration of wetlands and lake habitats of Bridgeport Reservoir. Bridgeport Reservoir sits within beautiful Bridgeport Valley between the Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater ranges. Waterfowl, grebes in courtship, terns, pelicans, and shorebirds grace the surface and shores of this popular fishing reservoir that also attracts a diversity of raptors such as Bald Eagles and Ospreys. A pair of Sandhill Cranes has recently been nesting at Bridgeport Reservoir and there is a chance of seeing or hearing these rare Mono County birds. Participants typically see more than 50 species of birds on this field trip. (est. driving miles: 65, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


217 Birding the June Lake Loop (field trip) FULL
Mike Prather
This beautiful driving loop has a variety of habitats—open water (lakes) with shorelines, aspen riparian, marsh (emergent vegetation), mountain sagebrush-scrub and coniferous forest. Our birds will vary with each habitat from waterbirds to woodpeckers. This is a drive and short-stroll outing. (est. driving miles: 30, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


219 Oasis in the Desert: Alkali Wetlands at Black Lake Preserve (field trip) FULL
Kay Ogden & Susanna Danner, Eastern Sierra Land Trust
A rare wetland between the Benton Range and Black Mountain, the Adobe Valley’s Black Lake is home to a vast variety of unusual flora and fauna. Designated as an Important Bird Area, Black Lake is critical to supporting avian populations: it serves as a breeding outpost for dozens of migrating bird species, as well as providing a vital water source for pronghorn, mule deer, Great Basin spadefoot toad, and Wong’s springsnail. Thanks to a generous property donation in 2014, Black Lake Preserve is now owned by Eastern Sierra Land Trust. Join Land Trust Executive Director Kay Ogden and Land Conservation Program Director Susanna Danner as they lead an early-morning walking tour of this protected alkali lake and wetland. Likely sights in this amazing water year include rare alkali meadow plants, waterfowl, shorebirds, and, if we are lucky, Loggerhead Shrike. (est. driving miles: 130, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center
Approximately 1 hour drive each way to Black Lake Preserve


221 Photo walk with Bob Steele (field trip)
Bob Steele
Join professional bird photographer Bob Steele as we explore digital bird photography in the field. We’ll look for easy-to-photograph subjects to allow the primary focus to be on technique and fundamentals. Topics discussed and explained will include camera setup, equipment, exposure techniques, composition, flash use, digital field evaluation of images, and approaching subjects. Minimum equipment requirements for the workshop are: digital SLR body; 300mm lens; teleconverters, tripod, and flash (if available). For more information about Bob, and to see more of his photography, check out his website: bobsteelephoto.com. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 6:30am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center


223 Birds & butterflies (field trip) FULL
Kristie Nelson
This trip will focus on birds and butterflies of the region. At the convergence of the Great Basin and Sierra Nevada, the Mono Lake area is a prime birding hotspot where a fairly astounding variety can be observed. But did you also know this area has one of the highest diversities of butterflies in temperate North America? The Tioga Pass region alone has the highest diversity of Coppers in the world, a charming group of gorgeous little butterflies. We will visit multiple habitats in order to see and appreciate this region's unique assemblage of birds and butterflies. Be prepared for moderate hiking, some at near 10,000 feet in elevation; bring layered clothing and a lunch. (est. driving miles: 75, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 7:00am–4:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


225 Birding South Tufa & the Jeffrey pine forest (field trip) FULL
Colin Dillingham
In a small area around the southwest shore of Mono Lake we’ll find birds that nest in sagebrush scrub and in dry, mature coniferous forest. These may include Lewis’ Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rock Wren, Sage Thrasher, Western Tanager, Green-tailed Towhee, and Brewer’s and Sagebrush Sparrows. We’ll also identify and talk about shoreline waterbirds. (est. driving miles: 30, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


227 Birding Burger's Retreat (field trip) FULL
Will Richardson
We’ll drive up and over a steep moraine out of Lee Vining Canyon on our way to a privately-owned secluded nature reserve only a short distance from the masses of visitors passing through Yosemite. We’ll stroll through a rich variety of habitats including sagebrush, meadow, willow thickets, aspen groves, conifers, and outcroppings of rocks. Green-tailed Towhee, woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, and many others may make an appearance. (est. driving miles: 6, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 7:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center


229 Lundy Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
Sarah Hockensmith
Spend a morning enjoying birds and other forms of wildlife in one of the Mono Basin’s most spectacular locations—Lundy Canyon. The mixture of aspen-cottonwood-willow riparian habitat with mature conifers provides prime habitat for a variety of Eastern Sierra birds. The awesome scenery, including displays of wildflowers, picturesque historical sites, beaver lodges, butterflies, and breathtaking rocky peaks should provide additional flavor to the outing. During one or two miles of walking we will make a special effort to locate nesting birds, as well as to locate birds by song. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 7:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center


231 Woodpeckers in healthy riparian habitats (field trip) FULL
Stephen A. Shunk
The aspen-lined canyons of the Mono Basin offer some of the most exciting and productive summer birding in California. Join Oregon naturalist and North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk to explore the riparian richness of the region. Expect a thorough primer on the natural history of aspen woodlands and especially their nesting woodpeckers. In addition to studying woodpecker behavior, we will also search for a host of nesting songbirds, including Mountain Bluebird, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Bullock’s Oriole, and Black-headed Grosbeak, as well as many birds of the adjacent mixed-conifer forest. (est. driving miles: 35, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 7:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center


233 Convict Lake: Birds & botany, rocks & remnants (field trip) FULL
Steve McLaughlin
Mile-long Convict Lake, located at 7,600 feet above sea level about 40 miles south of Lee Vining, lies in a glacial basin under Laurel Mountain and Mt. Morrison, two towering metamorphic peaks. The trail encircling the lake goes through a range of habitats with a high diversity of shrubs, trees, and flowers, including many uncommon and interesting species of plants. Expect to see many characteristic Eastern Sierra birds including Yellow Warblers, House Wrens, Green-tailed Towhees, Dusky Flycatchers, and Red-breasted Sapsuckers. Other species ranging from Calliope Hummingbirds to Bald Eagles may be found. Convict Creek, which can be viewed safely from a boardwalk, roars into the west end of the lake. Wear sturdy shoes, and bring your binoculars and a snack. A walking stick is helpful for short sections of the trail. (est. driving miles: 80, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 7:30am–12:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


235 Birding the Lakes Canyon trail (field trip) FULL
Kirk Hardie
This hike begins in the sagebrush at the Lundy Lake dam at about 7,800 feet in elevation and will take us steadily uphill above the south shore of the lake through willows, aspen, and conifer groves. Because of the variety of habitats we’ll be visiting we should see and hear a variety of bird species, including multiple species of warblers, Fox Sparrows, Brewer’s Sparrows, Cassin’s Finches, woodpeckers, Warbling Vireos, and others. We will not trek all the way to the lakes but will stop at an elevation of about 8,800 feet near the wilderness boundary. This is a moderately strenuous hike (up to 3 miles round trip) with spectacular views of lakes, streams, and high peaks.  (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 7:30am–12:00noon
Lee Vining Community Center


237 Birding Horse Meadow (field trip) FULL
Karyn “Kestrel” O’Hearn
Horse Meadow is perched up among moraines south of Lee Vining Canyon situated between stunning views of Mt. Dana and Mt. Gibbs, and a gorgeous, bird’s-eye view of Mono Lake. In this less-traveled area of the Mono Basin our walk will explore Upper Horse Meadow and environs, including the mix of meadow, sagebrush, aspen, and conifer forest habitats, which often provides a wide range of bird sightings. (est. driving miles: 15, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


239 Lee Vining Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL 
Sarah Stock
Lee Vining Canyon is one of the Eastern Sierra’s premier birding locations. It offers a variety of habitats and breathtaking views. Of particular interest is the habitat progression as Lee Vining Creek drains from the high alpine mountains of Yosemite and Tioga Pass down through the canyon and out into the arid sagebrush scrub surrounding Mono Lake. American Dipper, Townsend’s Solitaire, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, and nesting bluebirds, swallows, and woodpeckers are among the many highlights that we may see on this trip. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


241 Tarns & kettles (field trip) FULL
Karen Amstutz
Come spend the morning at the crest of the Sierra. At nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, we will find ourselves immersed in the beauty of the alpine edge and the edge of Yosemite National Park. Among glacial tarns and kettles, lodgepole and whitebark pines, peaks and meadows we will meander in search of nesting Mountain Bluebird, Spotted Sandpiper, Cassin’s Finch, and maybe some unexpected species. Every season here is unique. Tioga Pass is a thoroughfare for birds and we could easily be surprised by a rare sighting as we explore and seek birds and other wildlife in this rich variety of habitats. Bring a hat, sunscreen, warm layers, water, and snacks. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)

Saturday 8:00am–12:00noon
Lee Vining Community Center


243 Ghosts, guns, & gold: Bodie revealed (field trip) FULL
Chris Spiller
Bodie, one of California’s most famous state parks, was once known as the most lawless, wildest, and toughest mining camp in the West and boasted a population of 8,500 people in the 1880s. Join Chris, a Bodie Foundation tour guide, for a fascinating walk through town and hear stories about the characters who lived in this legendary settlement. We’ll then get a special tour through the 110-year-old stamp mill that processed much of the gold and silver and still houses some of the original equipment. The weather at this 8,400-foot elevation can be unpredictable so wear sunscreen and dress in layers. (est. driving miles: 62, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 1:00pm–6:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


247 Birding the June Lake Loop (field trip) FULL
Ryan DiGaudio
Join Ryan on this afternoon birding tour of the scenic June Lake Loop. The route covers a variety of habitats and therefore we should see a variety of birds. Reservoirs such as Grant Lake may hold lingering loons or mergansers. Mountain conifers and riparian aspens are home to many species—Mountain Chickadees, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, and many more. (est. driving miles: 35, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 1:00pm–6:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


248 Birding Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve (field trip) FULL
Rosie and Chris Howard
Located above the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Valentine Camp is a 156 acre property managed by the University of California at 8000-8500 feet. It has been protected from entry and grazing since the early 1900's and features remarkably pristine sub-alpine habitat including montane forest, chaparral, sagebrush, riparian, wet montane meadow, and seep and spring vegetation. Birdlife is plentiful and varied here, particularly those birds who enjoy mature coniferous forests (Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet), mixed montane woodland (Western Tanager, Western Wood-Peewee), and sagebrush expanses (Green-tailed Towhee, Fox Sparrow). We'll keep our ears open for Mountain Quail, more often heard than seen. We have been granted special permission to access the property and will hike the private trails through this wonderland. Participants are required to sign a waiver of liability before entering the property. (est. driving miles: 60 round-trip, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 1:00pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


249 Introduction to image editing (indoor workshop)
Bob Steele
Join professional bird photographer Bob Steele as we explore digital photo editing in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom. Topics discussed and demonstrated will include: image storage and backup strategies, converting RAW images using Adobe Camera RAW (PS and PSE plug-in), basic image editing for JPEG and TIFF images, sizing and sharpening images for different outputs—email, internet, printing—and a group discussion with questions and answers. For more information about Bob Steele, and to see more of his photography, check out his website: bobsteelephoto.com.
Saturday 1:00pm–5:00pm
Mono Lake Committee Theater & Gallery


251 Touring policy hot spots
Geoff McQuilkin
Join Mono Lake Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin for a tour of the Mono Basin with discussions focusing on hot public policy and management topics as well as current water conditions and what they means for Mono Lake and the tributary streams. Stops will include Mono Lake’s streams to see the effects last year’s wet winter had on their restoration, Los Angeles aqueduct infrastructure, and the lakeshore to discuss lake level fluctuations. Geoff will describe the Committee’s role in forecasting and documenting the changes we’re seeing and will explain the work ahead to continue to safeguard Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 40, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 1:00pm–4:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


253 Fly casting clinic (outdoor workshop)
Trout Unlimited
Have you always wanted to learn how to cast a fly fishing rod? Or improve your current casting stroke? Members of the Eastern Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited will provide a free fly casting demonstration clinic that will help you improve regardless of your current level of experience. This clinic is open to all ages from beginners to advanced casters. Rods and reels will be provided or you can bring your own equipment. No charge and open to all. (Zero driving)
Saturday 1:00pm–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


255 Introduction to drawing birds (indoor workshop) FULL
John Muir (Jack) Laws
Learn how to quickly and accurately draw birds in the field and from a photo reference. In this class, we will learn the basics of bird anatomy and tricks to help quickly draw birds in the field for either field notes or the pleasure of sketching. Master the one-minute gesture sketch and learn tricks for drawing heads, wings, and feet. No previous drawing experience is necessary. Bring a sketch pad and pencil.
Saturday 1:00pm–3:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center

257 Lundy Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
Scott Dietrich
We will head up Lundy Canyon with open minds regarding what we may see, enjoying the wonderful assemblage of breeding birds of this Eastern Sierra drainage. The mixture of open water, riparian, coniferous, and sagebrush habitats found in this canyon attracts a nice diversity of birds, and these habitats are quite accessible via the main road and short trails along the creek. Since it will be the heart of nesting season, we will likely spend some time observing birds at various stages of their breeding cycles. Among the birds to be expected include sapsuckers, woodpeckers, pewees, vireos, jays, nuthatches, creepers, wrens, chickadees, grosbeaks, swallows, warblers, tanagers, juncos, towhees, sparrows, and finches. We will be walking mostly on dirt roads/trails with some light off-trail walking possible. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 1:30pm–5:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


259 Pikas on the Moon (field trip) FULL
Andrew Smith
Not a bird – but nevertheless a charismatic diurnal mammal! We will begin with a short talk to bring everyone up to speed on the natural history of the American pika. We will then visit the Mono Craters (South Coulee) - which is like observing pikas on the moon – to highlight the adaptability of this species and the extreme environments that it occupies there (in contrast to pikas in the High Sierra – which can be under snow at this time of year). From Lee Vining we will head south on 395 to the Mono Craters. We will gather at the southern June Lake Junction, and I will lead us up the dirt road to the site – no vehicle restrictions. The site is beautiful and, yes, birding is allowed and encouraged. (est. driving: 32 miles; hiking difficulty: moderate)
Saturday 1:30pm–5:00pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center conference room 


261 A meeting with Dr. Steller (outdoor presentation)
Pete Devine
Everyone who comes to western mountains knows Steller’s Jays and most people don’t care much for them. Birders don’t pay much attention to them and those that do make note of their ubiquity often distain their generally unsavory behaviors. But this is a bird worth paying attention to! Pete Devine will take one the persona of Dr. G. W. Steller and tell you some surprising things about the biology of this species while sharing the remarkable story of Steller’s voyage of discovery—an epic of disaster, survival, and a natural history bonanza in 1741. Imagine John Muir combined with Charles Darwin and Sir Ernest Shackleton and you’ve got G. W. Steller—and now you can meet “him” here in Lee Vining. This program will be outdoors in a cool shaded area of County Park.
Saturday 1:30pm–2:30pm
County Park

265 Birding Lower Parker Canyon (field trip) FULL
Santiago Escruceria
Join Santiago Escruceria on this leisurely, bird walk on level terrain through lower Parker Canyon. We will explore riparian and meadow habitats in this quiet region of the Mono Basin. We may encounter a good variety of birds from Red-breasted Sapsucker to Mountain Bluebird and warblers to Long-eared Owl (no promises). Be prepared to walk a couple of flat, mostly shaded miles and to enjoy spectacular views of the Sierra crest and Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 2:00pm–5:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


267 Fields' guide to Osprey (field trip)
Lisa Fields
We will drive to South Tufa where we will walk to the lake to view active Osprey nests, discuss why a fish-eating bird is living at a fishless lake, and answer questions about Osprey natural history. South Tufa is the best area to view active nests and if we are lucky the chicks will be large enough to offer us a glimpse. Updates to the current research will also be discussed, which includes some dispersal, migration, and local foraging data thanks in part to Chautauqua grants for the banding and telemetry study. We may adjust our route (and possibly our location) based upon current Osprey activity. We will be in exposed areas so please bring a hat, water, and sunscreen. Open to kids of all ages. (est. driving miles: 22, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 2:00pm–5:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


268 A bird’s-eye view of bugs (field trip) FULL

Michael Ross
As birds know, the world is full of tasty bugs and a few yucky ones. With “bird eyes” we’ll search for bugs on the ground, leaves, bark, soil, and in the air. And maybe even take a taste test of our own. Open to kids of all ages and parents. No charge and open to all.
Saturday 2:00pm–4:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


269 Insights into Bird Behaviors (presentation)
Barry Boulton
As birds navigate their lives in an always-precarious world, their behaviors are varied and fascinating, having evolved and adapted with many different patterns. Using high definition video sequences for cranes, egrets & herons, blackbirds, bluebirds, ospreys, sapsuckers, owls, and grebes, we will observe and analyze topics such as courtship displays, sexual selection, sibling rivalry, altruism, speciation, natural selection, and convergent evolution. In doing so, we will discuss how and why different species responded variously to the demands of survival. Despite 300M years since our last common ancestor (dinosaurs versus mammals), we can appreciate so much commonality between avian and human behaviors. We will take a brief look at the rise of bird conservation including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (now under grave threat), and we’ll also simulate the dramatic loss of habitat in California since the mid-1800s, relating that to current conservation crises such as the fate of the Tricolored Blackbird.
Saturday 3:00pm–4:00pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium


270 Snag forest bird walk (field trip) FULL
Maya Khosla
Dozens of exciting new scientific publications, new poetry, and walks in the field will give us a chance to explore recently burned forests both scientifically and artistically. We will look for snag-dependent birds like White-headed, Hairy, Lewis’, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Williamson’s Sapsuckers and secondary cavity nesters like Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. We’ll discuss the many ways that mixed-intensity fire supports biodiversity and ecological health in our conifer forests, and a habitat created by high-intensity fire called “complex early seral forest,” which is the rarest, most biodiverse, and yet the most threatened of all forest habitat types in the Sierra Nevada. Many declining wildlife species depend upon this habitat, yet there are no meaningful protections for it. (est. total driving miles: 45, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Saturday 4:00pm–8:00pm
Lee Vining Community Center


271 Twilight birding (field trip) FULL

Ted Beedy & Keith Hansen
Late June brings some of the longest and most active birding days of the year in the Mono Basin. Get ready for an early evening adventure of birding into the dusk. We will ply some active birding spots in the Mono Basin for early evening activity that may include shorebirds, waterfowl, nighthawks, poorwills, and Winnowing Snipes. We may even search for an owl or two once daylight is extinguished. We will use our ears as well as our eyes in this nearby bird outing. Bring layered clothing for cooler weather after the sun sets. This program will take up to 20 participants. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 7:00pm–9:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


273 Twilight birding 2 (field trip) FULL
Colin Dillingham
This program will take a similar path in a different direction to its sister field trip. Get ready for an early evening adventure of birding into the dusk. We will ply some active birding spots in the Mono Basin for early evening activity that may include shorebirds, waterfowl, nighthawks, poorwills, and Winnowing Snipes. We may even search for an owl or two once daylight is extinguished. We will use our ears as well as our eyes in this nearby bird outing. Bring layered clothing for cooler weather after the sun sets. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 7:00pm–9:30pm
Lee Vining Community Center


275 Tule tangles (workshop)
Ane Carla Rovetta
Tule Grass (Scirpus sp.) is valued worldwide as a weaving plant to make clothing, hats, containers, houses, and even floating decoys. With the spirit of adventure with will fashion small waterfowl out of its supple and fragrant shoots. Although Tule occurs in the Mono Basin, all our supplies were collected on private lands in the Bay Area.
Saturday 7:00pm–8:30pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center conference room


277 Thinking like a naturalist: Reclaiming the art of Natural History (evening presentation)
John Muir (Jack) Laws
Did you know that your powers of observation and curiosity are not static traits but skills that you can develop and enhance? How can you get more out of every nature ramble? Developments in neuropsychology have opened doors in our understanding of the brain and cognition and how you can train yourself to see more and to be more curious about what you discover. Naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws will demonstrate simple and fun techniques you can incorporate into your own recreational nature study, classroom, or family outings. You will learn an adaptable three-step approach that will dramatically increase your memory and observational skills, focus and heighten your curiosity, help you think more creatively, and give you a framework for exploring mysteries in nature.
Saturday 7:30pm–8:30pm
Scenic Area Visitor Center auditorium


279 Bats in Lee Vining Canyon (field trip) FULL
Burleigh Lockwood and Brittany Kleinschnitz
Join Burleigh and Brittany on a bat walk at Lee Vining Canyon. While waiting for the evening to turn into night, Burleigh will beguile us with a captivating introduction into the biologic and behavioral world of bats. We will then head out to Lee Vining Canyon to "see" the bats. We will be using Sonobat Live acoustical monitoring equipment. This will allow us to identify each bat by species through an almost instantaneous analysis of their ultrasonic echolocation calls as they fly over. (est. driving miles: 10; hiking difficulty: easy)
Saturday 7:30pm–10:00pm

Lee Vining Community Center

Sunday, June 17, 2018


301 Birding the June Lake Loop (field trip) FULL
Oliver James
Join Oliver on this birding tour of the scenic June Lake Loop. The route covers a variety of habitats and therefore we should see a variety of birds. Reservoirs such as Grant Lake may hold lingering loons or mergansers. Mountain conifers and riparian aspens are home to many species—Mountain Chickadees, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, and many more. We may also explore the June Lake burn area near Highway 395, which will undoubtedly yield woodpecker species. (est. driving miles: 35, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 6:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center

 

303 Birding the Bridgeport Valley (field trip)
Ted Beedy
Join Ted Beedy for an exploration of wetlands and lake habitats of Bridgeport Reservoir. Bridgeport Reservoir sits within beautiful Bridgeport Valley between the Sierra Nevada and Sweetwater ranges. Waterfowl, grebes in courtship, terns, pelicans, and shorebirds grace the surface and shores of this popular fishing reservoir that also attracts a diversity of raptors such as Bald Eagles and Ospreys. A pair of Sandhill Cranes has recently been nesting at Bridgeport Reservoir and there is a chance of seeing or hearing these rare Mono County birds. Participants typically see more than 50 species of birds on this field trip. (est. driving miles: 65, hiking difficulty: easy
Sunday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center 
5

305 Rush Creek Romp (field trip) FULL
Chris McCreedy
We will begin in big sagebrush scrub habitat, then move to the Rush Creek narrows, a scenic cataract pinching the Rush Creek floodplain. We will look for sagebrush birds including Green-tailed Towhee, Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow, and Gray Flycatcher. The Rush Creek narrows signifies the confluence of Walker Creek and Rush Creek, and it marks a boundary between trembling aspen riparian of higher elevations, and mixed willow-cottonwood riparian of lower elevations. Riparian birds include Dusky Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak, MacGillivray's Warbler, and, occasionally, singing Willow Flycatchers. You will learn to identify Dusky, Gray, and if present, Willow Flycatchers. In addition, the narrows meadow is a frequent location for vagrant sightings. (est. driving miles: 20; hiking difficulty: moderate to strenuous)
Sunday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center 


307 Finches, woodpeckers, and birding the pine woodlands (field trip) FULL
Susan Steele
On this trip we will explore Jeffrey/lodgepole pine forests south of Lee Vining looking for woodpeckers and finches. We will focus on looking for nesting woodpeckers including Williamson's Sapsucker and Lewis', Hairy, White-headed, and Black-backed Woodpecker, Cassin's Finch, and Red Crossbill. If this happens to be a year when the irruptive Evening Grosbeak are gracing the area, we will walk a couple miles listening for them, and if we are lucky, watch these amazing "grosbeaked" birds. Resident species we have a good chance of observing include Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Chipping Sparrow, Steller's Jay, and Mountain Bluebird. (est. driving miles: 60, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Sunday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


309 Birding Antelope Valley & Topaz Lake (field trip) FULL
Colin Dillingham
We will caravan to the southern tip of Antelope Valley and investigate cottonwood riparian, agriculture, and sage/juniper/pinyon pine woodlands. Pinyon Jay and Willow Flycatcher are likely, as well as raptors, sparrows, and neotropical migrants. We will search for the elusive Juniper Titmouse. After a couple hours in the valley, we’ll travel north to the southern part of Topaz Lake where we will use spotting scopes to scan the lake. We will walk along the southern shore of Topaz Lake to investigate what species might be breeding in the hidden southeast corner of the lake. We will end our trip at Topaz Lake. (est. driving miles to and from Lee Vining: 130, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


311 Bird sounds part 2 (field study)
Roy Poucher

This field trip is the “hands-on” part 2 companion to the part 1 workshop on Friday afternoon. The goal is to solidify the general techniques explored on Friday, and provide practical experience with field identification of specific Mono Basin bird sounds. We will primarily be standing at different locations for short time segments, silently noting on paper what bird sounds we are individually hearing, and next, as a group, discussing, analyzing, and identifying these sounds. Though useful, binoculars are not necessary. Please bring a small notebook. The Friday afternoon bird sounds workshop is a prerequisite for this event. Total walking distance will be about 2 miles with some moderately strenuous terrain at an elevation of up to 8,500 ft. (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Sunday  6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


313 Snag forest bird walk (field trip) FULL
Maya Khosla
Dozens of exciting new scientific publications, new poetry, and walks in the field will give us a chance to explore recently burned forests both scientifically and artistically. We will look for snag-dependent birds like White-headed, Hairy, Lewis’, Black-backed Woodpeckers, Williamson’s Sapsuckers and secondary cavity nesters like Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. We’ll discuss the many ways that mixed-intensity fire supports biodiversity and ecological health in our conifer forests, and a habitat created by high-intensity fire called “complex early seral forest,” which is the rarest, most biodiverse, and yet the most threatened of all forest habitat types in the Sierra Nevada. Many declining wildlife species depend upon this habitat, yet there are no meaningful protections for it. (est. total driving miles: 45, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Sunday 6:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


315 Birding South Tufa & the Jeffrey pine forest (field trip) FULL

Scott Dietrich
In a small area around the southwest shore of Mono Lake we’ll find birds that nest in sagebrush scrub and in dry, mature coniferous forest. These may include Lewis’ Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Violet-green Swallow, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rock Wren, Sage Thrasher, Western Tanager, Green-tailed Towhee and Brewer’s and Sagebrush Sparrows. We’ll also identify and talk about shoreline waterbirds. (est. driving miles: 30, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


317 Birds & burns (field trip) FULL

Stephen A. Shunk
For too many years, we have branded fire as an enemy of our forested wildlands, but fire is actually a critical ecological component of healthy forests. On this trip we will explore several burned patches of the world’s largest Jeffrey pine forest, including the 2016 Clark Fire southeast of June Lake. Wandering through blackened columns left by lightning-caused fires, we’ll discover a rarely enjoyed new world of wildflowers, resprouting shrubs, and once-proud pines fast becoming homes for Black-backed and Hairy woodpeckers and other cavity-nesters. Join North American woodpecker specialist Steve Shunk for an interpretation of western forest ecology, including the critical role of fire and the keystone roles of the forests’ woodpeckers. Expect a moderate meander of approximately four miles through one of the Eastern Sierra’s most under-appreciated ecosystems. (est. driving miles: 60, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Sunday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


319 Behavior, physiology, & natural history of High Sierra birds (field trip) FULL
Tom Hahn
This trip will make a couple of stops in Lee Vining Canyon on the way up into the Tioga Pass vicinity, and provides a great opportunity to observe many of the birds of the eastern slope and Sierra crest. We’ll use the species we find as jumping-off points to talk about the various research on physiology and behavior of high-elevation birds that has been done over the past 40 years around Tioga Pass, with particular emphasis on how the steep eastern escarpment provides opportunities for small birds to escape life-threatening weather, and how residents and migrants orchestrate their annual schedules of breeding, plumage molt, and migration in this capricious environment. We’ll make a particular effort to find, observe, and discuss the natural history of Mountain White-crowned Sparrow, Dusky Flycatcher, Hermit Thrush, Cassin’s Finch, and Rock Wren, and we’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for Gray-crowned Rosy-finch, Pine Siskin, and Red Crossbill—all of which have been studied in the area (some since 1968). (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Sunday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


321 Birding Lee Vining Canyon (field trip) FULL

Michelle Desrosiers
Lee Vining Canyon provides great Eastern Sierra birding from the top to the bottom. The canyon covers high alpine habitats above Ellery Lake all the way to Great Basin sagebrush and riparian habitats down near Lee Vining, as Lee Vining Creek drains into Mono Lake. On this field trip we will spend some time walking at lower elevations, where species observed may include Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, American Dipper, Black-chinned Hummingbird, and Green-tailed Towhee. Then we’ll head to the high country, driving up Lee Vining Canyon, stopping to look for Gray-crowned Rosy-finches on talus slopes near the lakes, followed by a walk along Saddlebag Lake Road (approximately 9,500 feet) to look for high elevation breeders like Townsend’s Solitaire, Cassin’s Finch, Clark’s Nutcracker, Dusky Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadee, and Mountain White-crowned Sparrow. Hopefully we’ll see some surprises too! (est. driving miles: 20, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Sunday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


323 Lundy Canyon bird walk (field trip) FULL
Justin Hite
Spend a morning enjoying birds and other wildlife in one of the Mono Basin’s most spectacular locations—Lundy Canyon. The mixture of aspen-cottonwood-willow riparian habitat with mature conifers provides prime habitat for a variety of Eastern Sierra birds. The awesome scenery, including displays of wildflowers, picturesque historical sites, beaver lodges, butterflies, and breathtaking rocky peaks will provide additional flavor to the outing. During 1-2 miles of walking we will make a special effort to locate nesting birds, as well as to locate birds by song. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Sunday 7:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


325 Birding Rush Creek Delta (field trip)
Peter Metropulos
We will take a leisurely one-mile hike through open sagebrush to the mouth of Rush Creek where we will enjoy a unique perspective of the Mono Basin. Along the way we will pause to study birds typical of the Great Basin desert habitat. Once at the delta we will experience an awesome setting, watch birds coming in to bathe in the fresh water, and discuss the history of Rush Creek and its importance to the health of the ecosystem of Mono Lake. (est. driving miles: 15, hiking difficulty: moderate)
Sunday 7:00am–11:00am
Lee Vining Community Center

 

327 Birding Burger's Retreat (field trip) FULL
Dave Shuford
We’ll drive up and over a steep moraine out of Lee Vining Canyon, with spectacular views of Mt. Dana and beyond, on our way to a privately-owned secluded nature reserve only a short distance from the masses of visitors passing through Yosemite. We’ll stroll through a rich variety of habitats including sagebrush, meadow, willow thickets, aspen groves, conifers, and outcroppings of rocks. Green-tailed Towhee, woodpeckers, warblers, flycatchers, and many others may make an appearance. (est. driving miles: 6, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 7:00am–10:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


329 Exploring the Mono Basin (field trip) FULL
Greg Stock
Join Yosemite National Park geologist Greg Stock for a combination driving/hiking tour of the stunning geology of the Mono Basin. From volcanic craters to glacial moraines, massive mountains to tufa towers, the Eastern Sierra holds some of the most spectacular and accessible geology anywhere in the world. This field trip will present, in understandable fashion, the geologic stories behind such scenic wonders as Mono Lake, the Mono Craters, Lee Vining Canyon, and Tioga Pass. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what formed the diverse landscapes of the Mono Basin, this trip is for you. (est. driving miles: 35, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)
Sunday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


331 Walk quietly & carry a big lens on Sunday too (field trip) FULL
Santiago Escruceria 
Join Santiago for an easily accessible and gentle stroll next to a beautiful riparian corridor to photograph birds. With our own cameras we will shoot for orioles, finches, wrens, swallows, Osprey, and eagles. We will investigate basic technique and take advantage of morning light. (est. driving miles: 22, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 7:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


333 Exploring Rattlesnake Gulch (field trip) FULL
David Wimpfheimer
This unique area, the oldest known gold mining site in the Eastern Sierra, is a quiet, dramatic place unlike any other location in the Mono Basin. A riparian habitat of willow and aspen holds typical breeding species such as Calliope Hummingbird, MacGillivray’s Warbler, and Green-tailed Towhee. Adjacent sagebrush and bitterbrush habitat offer a different group of birds. Rocky expanses and unlimited vistas provide good raptor watching. This is a fun and scenic area with lots of great boulders and old cabins that will not only interest birders, but photographers as well. Please bring your hand-held radios for communication between vehicles if you have them. (est. driving miles: 25, hiking difficulty: easy to moderate)

 

337 Fields' guide to Osprey (field trip) FULL
Lisa Fields
We will drive to South Tufa where we will walk down to the lake to view active Osprey nests, discuss why a fish-eating bird is living on a fishless lake, and answer questions about Osprey natural history. South Tufa is the best area to view active nests and if we are lucky the chicks will be large enough to offer us a glimpse. Updates to the current research will also be discussed, which includes some dispersal, migration, and local foraging data thanks in part to Chautauqua grants for the banding and telemetry study. We may adjust our route (and possibly our location) based on current Osprey activity. We will be in exposed areas so please bring a hat, water, and sunscreen. Open to kids of all ages. (driving miles: 22, hiking difficulty: easy)
Sunday 8:30am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


339 Capturing birds with pencil & paper (workshop)
Keith Hansen
Join Keith Hansen for a session of bird illustration. Learn to capture birds on paper with techniques that will aid and enhance your experiences while birding. Whether you want to render quick impressions of birds in the field for your note book, or create something of beauty that you have seen, this class will help you to achieve that goal. With step-by-step demonstrations, Keith will cover many elements, including basic anatomy and form, perspective, foreshortening, effects of lighting, negative space, background contrast, and others that will give you a good foundation for rendering your own images. From beginner to expert, this class will aid in and increase your overall enjoyment of your time spent in nature.
Materials to bring include:
Any kind of notebook or sketch pad you would like
2 or 3 pencils with various hardness from medium to soft
Razor blade/sharp pocket knife as well as some “not too rough” sandpaper for keeping pencils sharp
An eraser, either an “Art Gum” or “Magic Rub”
Sunday 9:00am–11:30am
Lee Vining Community Center


Picnic & music at Mono Lake County Park
(and the bird calling contest)
Join us Sunday afternoon for a picnic in the park complete with live music. This is a perfect way to kick off your summer by enjoying lunch, relaxing in the green shady glow of County Park, and immersing yourself in music. Feel free to bring your own lunch or consider purchasing lunch for $10 at County Park, which benefits Lee Vining High School. We'll continue our traditional bird calling contest. Come enjoy good food and live music with new and old friends as we recap the weekend's bird sightings or steal away down the boardwalk for a last-minute glimpse of the birds. This is a great way to end the Chautauqua! A fun event for people of all ages.

This year’s live musical guest: Wild Mountain Thyme

Sunday beginning at 12:00noon
Mono Lake County Park

To get to County Park from Lee Vining, head north on Highway 395 approximately 5 miles and turn right on Cemetery Road. Go down the hill and look for parking directions. Carpooling from Lee Vining is highly recommended.




Other things to do during Chautauqua week


Birding at Mono Lake County Park & Tufa State Natural Reserve boardwalk
Wrens, warblers, woodpeckers, and waterbirds can be seen in this rich variety of habitats. We'll make our way from the sagebrush through the old cottonwoods, around the willow thickets, and down the boardwalk to the shoreline of Mono Lake. Led by a Mono Lake Committee naturalist. Open to kids of all ages.
Friday 8:00am–10:00am. No registration required.
Sunday 8:00am–10:00am. No registration required.

Meet in the parking lot at Mono Lake County Park.

Strange waters: South Tufa walk
Discover the unique waters and wildlife of Mono Lake at South Tufa off Highway 120 east. It is an easy, 1-mile, 1.5-hour walk with a naturalist among the spectacular tufa towers on the lakeshore. Bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and binoculars. Entrance fee is $3.00 per person for a one-week pass. Visitors ages 15 and under are admitted free. Open to kids of all ages.
Saturday 1:00pm–2:30pm. No registration required.
Sunday 1:00pm–2:30pm. No registration required.

Meet at the South Tufa site. From Lee Vining, drive approximately 5 miles south on Hwy 395. Turn left on Hwy 120 East and travel another 5 miles to the South Tufa/Navy Beach turn-off. Turn left following the signs to the left toward the South Tufa parking lot.

 

Hidden History of Old Marina

Join Chris Spiller, tour guide with the non-profit Friends of Mono Lake Reserve, for a 2-hour tour of state lands north of Lee Vining and discover how the early pioneers grew crops and raised livestock to feed the surrounding communities and mining camps. We will also explore the original site of the Old Marina to learn about the activities enjoyed there in the early 20th century. As we learn about those who made Mono Lake their home, we will enjoy views of the lake and see marsh and migratory birds. Please wear sturdy walking shoes, bring water, sunscreen, jacket, hat and water. The $10 per person charge, which includes souvenir booklet, benefits the FOMLR.

Friday

Morning tour: 10:00am–Noon. No registration required.

Afternoon tour: 1:30pm–3:30pm. No registration required.
Meet at Mono Basin Historical Society Schoolhouse Museum, 129 Mattly Avenue, one block east of Highway 395


Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore
The Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore offers a free film, educational exhibits, and an art exhibit. You'll also find an excellent selection of regional books, maps, T-shirts, posters, local crafts, and specialty gifts. The Committee also houses the Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce with information on lodging, dining, and recreation opportunities as well as weather and road conditions.
The Mono Lake Committee will be open from 8:00am–9:00pm daily during the Chautauqua, call (760) 647-6595 for more information.

Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center
The Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area Visitor Center features an excellent view of Mono Lake, interpretive displays, natural history trails, and the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association bookstore. Make sure to check it all out during the Chautauqua! The dramatic Mono Lake film Of Ice and Fire will be shown in the theater when possible. Call (760) 647-3044 for more information. A great place for kids of all ages.
The Visitor Center will be open 8:00am–9:00pm on Friday and Saturday with the exhibit hall closing at 6:00pm during the Chautauqua.
Regular Visitor Center hours are 8:00am–5:00pm daily; call (760) 647-3044 for more information.

Mono Basin Historical Society Museum
The Mono Basin Historical Society Museum, located in Lee Vining at Gus Hess Park, houses a fascinating collection of materials and photographs from the Mono Basin's past. See Native American artifacts, gold mining implements, and even the legendary upside-down house! A great place for kids of all ages. Call (760) 647-6461 for more information.