Nineteenth Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua A Success!

Wednesday, June 22: Despite the high winds, birders and field trip leaders still tallied 149 bird species in three days during the event, and a few groups got great looks at Bighorn Sheep, Kangaroo Rats, and many more mammals too! Check out the bird list and please email us if you saw birds that are not on the list!

This year’s Saturday gathering at Hess Park benefited Lee Vining High School and featured the awesome local band Bodie 601 trio. Towards the end of the set, we pulled the raffle winners:

  • Pre-registration to 2023 Chautauqua: Jennifer McNulty
  • A Guided Trip with a Mono Lake Committee naturalist: JoAnn Trejo
  • Peak Designs Fanny Pack: Alison Turner
  • Vortex Binoculars: Erin Naegle and Julia Kelley
  • Thanks to all who purchased tickets!

    The Chautauqua could not happen without support from our many partners. We would like to thank the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, Bodie Foundation, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Eastern Sierra Land Trust, Friends of the Inyo, Inyo National Forest, Point Blue Conservation Science, Yosemite Conservancy, and Yosemite National Park for contributing time, vision, and resources to keep the event in flight. Thanks as well to our sponsors: El Mono Motel and Latte Da Cafe, Guadualito Birding Tours, Murphey’s Motel, Lakeview Lodge, Vortex Optics, and to all of the local businesses for accommodating our guests and leaders.

    Read our full recap of the festival.

    WEATHER UPDATE: All Friday field trips are cancelled

    Friday, June 17: We're so sorry to announce that all Friday field trips have been cancelled due to a new wind advisory that was issued by the National Weather Service this morning. The forecast is looking much more promising for Saturday and Sunday and we are hopeful that trips on Saturday and Sunday will be able to continue as scheduled. The Lee Vining Community Center will continue to be staffed today if you have questions, would like to check in, or would like to purchase any Chautauqua merchandise. Thank you for your understanding while we make this call for safety.


    Thursday, June 16: The wind forecast for Friday has decreased slightly, but there is still a Wind Advisory from 2:00pm to 9:00pm with sustained 30 mph winds with gusts up to 50mph in Lee Vining, with other locations around the Eastern Sierra varying in windspeeds. We have decided to cancel all trips within that Wind Advisory window—this means all Friday afternoon and evening trips will be cancelled.

    The winds for Friday AM are still not great for birding (sustained 10-15 mph winds with 20-25 mph gusts in Lee Vining), but we are planning to go ahead with Friday morning trips—-at least give it a try. Depending on the wind during the meeting times, we may cancel right then or decide to attempt to go out. If, once you’re in the field, the winds are disrupting your trip, either with unsafe conditions, no birds, or unhappy people, your field trip leader will use their best judgement to find another more sheltered location to visit or end the trip early. We ask that all trips end by 1:00 PM before the Wind Advisory starts, so please plan accordingly if your trip is originally scheduled to go beyond that time.

    We will assess Saturday conditions tomorrow—-if there is a Wind Advisory issued, we will cancel any trips that fall inside that window and try for the trips that don’t. Saturday so far looks like it will be relatively calm until about 11am. At the end of the weekend, we will assess which trips were cancelled and how it affected participants, and we will offer refunds after that time. Thank you for understanding!

    Potentially disruptive wind forecasted for the weekend

    Wednesday, June 15: We are closely monitoring the weather forecast for this weekend due to predicted high winds, particularly on Friday. We are considering cancelling some or all field trips on Friday if the forecast does not improve. Stay tuned for an update here on the Chautauqua website by noon tomorrow. Birding in windy conditions is no fun, but birding and being out in winds this severe is also dangerous. Saturday is looking more promising, though it will likely be windy in the afternoon and evening. We will assess the morning of and as the day progresses on Saturday whether trips should go out or not. Sunday is looking lovely, hopefully it stays that way.

    Due to these high winds and potential fire danger, the Saturday lunch option has shifted from a barbecue to artisanal sandwiches. The options will be vegetarian, turkey pesto, or a ham and swiss all on ciabatta rolls. Lunch will come with your choice of a side, as well as a piece of organic fruit, a drink, and dessert. Lunches are $15 and all proceeds benefit Lee Vining High School.

    Check-in starts on June 16 at 3:00 PM PDT

    Check-in for the in-person Chautauqua starts at 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 16. Check in at the Lee Vining Community Center, 196 Mattly Ave, from 3:00–7:30 pm on Thursday, 6:00am–7:30pm on Friday, and 6:00am–12:00noon on Saturday. Chautauqua staff will be wearing masks indoors throughout the event. We encourage you to wear one too, but they are not required. Please bring a mask for carpooling in case the driver you're carpooling with prefers everyone wears a mask.

    Registration opens on April 15 at 6:30 AM PDT

    April 8, 2022: Registration for the nineteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua opens at 6:30am PDT on Friday, April 15. Be sure to check out the newly updated schedule online as you select your programs. We are expecting high demand for this year's in-person event, and we have limited capacity due to smaller trip sizes and no indoor presentations. Afternoon and evening field trips are particularly limited and it’s possible the event will sell out quickly. Please be patient with us if you don't get into as many trips as you'd like, and be flexible—there's plenty to enjoy in the Mono Basin during your visit.

    All participants and field trip leaders are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted to attend the Chautauqua this year. We will require proof of vaccination after registration to save your spot in the field trips you register for.

    We will be offering a small virtual Chautauqua the weekend before the in-person event (June 10–11). You can register for this virtual event online starting on April 15. If you are attending in person in June, you will automatically have free access to the virtual event. Recordings of the virtual events will be available through August 1, 2022.

    Practice using the registration system now through Wednesday, April 13. In order to have the best chance of getting your first choice events for the in-person event, we highly recommend that you practice using the registration system. Additionally, be sure to check out our registration tips and the new tutorial videos we created to walk you through the system step-by-step.

    T-shirts are available this year for pre-order only. This year’s T-shirt art features a Lazuli Bunting illustrated by L Wren Walraven on an organic cotton, sky blue or gray T-shirt. T-shirts will only be available for pre-order, so be sure to order yours when you register so you don't miss out.

    If you have questions, please don't hesitate to email or call (760) 647-6595 and ask for Andrew or Nora.

    Chautauqua programs now online

    March 18, 2022: Registration for the nineteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is less than a month away, beginning at 6:30am PDT on Friday, April 15, 2022. The full schedule of field trips and outdoor workshops is now online, including the grid schedule, which shows how trips may overlap. Please note that we are still working on this schedule and additional programs may be added prior to registration day.
    We highly recommend finding several alternate programs for each time slot, as many programs fill quickly—some fill just minutes after registration opens.
    Updated presenter biographies are also online, so you can learn more about everyone leading trips this year.
    If you have questions, please don't hesitate to email or call (760) 647-6595 and ask for Andrew or Nora.

    Chautauqua will be in-person in 2022!

    Mark your calendar—the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is a little more than four months away: June 17–19, 2022 in Lee Vining. You read that right, IN Lee Vining! We are excited to announce that we will be hosting an in-person Chautauqua this year. We are setting up the weekend's schedule of field trips and outdoor workshops and we will post the full program online on Friday, March 18. As always, Chautauqua registration will open on Friday, April 15 at 6:30am PDT. Be sure to book your accommodations as soon as possible, as Lee Vining motels tend to sell out early for this busy weekend. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions either by email or by calling (760) 647-6595. We are looking forward to another great event filled with feathers, fun, and friends!

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