Mono Lake Region

Bridgeport, California

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Mono Lake is well known because of the legal battles that were fought over water diversions by the city of Los Angeles. The most publicized part of the issue was the threat to the breeding colonies of California Gulls on Negit Island. As more and more water was diverted from the lake, a land bridge appeared between the island and the mainland, permitting predators to gain access to the gull colonies. Furthermore, it was suspected that a continued lowering of the water would jeopardize the food resources of the lake, consisting of billions of tiny brine shrimp and alkali flies. California Gulls depend upon these, and so do tens of thousands of migrating Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes, and hundreds of thousands of Eared Grebes. The outcome of the legal battle was that the city of Los Angeles agreed to limit its diversions, so the lake could be maintained at a healthy level. The region covered here includes not only the lake itself but also some of the watershed to the west, extending to 10,000 feet at Saddlebag Lake. It also covers some of the sagebrush country to the east, and north to Bodie. In the fall, the slopes of the Sierra Nevada in many places turn to spectacular yellow and gold colors because of the extensive aspen groves. Specialty birds: Resident—Sage Grouse; White-tailed Ptarmigan; Steller’s and Pinyon Jays; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; Mountain Chickadee; Pygmy Nuthatch; Rock Wren; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Cassin’s Finch. Summer—Snowy Plover; California Gull; Common Poorwill; Calliope Hummingbird; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers; Western Wood-Pewee; Dusky and Gray Flycatchers; Say’s Phoebe; Violet-green Swallow; Mountain Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Green-tailed Towhee; Brewer’s and Sage Sparrows; Lazuli Bunting. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information.

Mono Lake Region Professional Review and Guide

"Mono Lake is well known because of the legal battles that were fought over water diversions by the city of Los Angeles. The most publicized part of the issue was the threat to the breeding colonies of California Gulls on Negit Island. As more and more water was diverted from the lake, a land bridge appeared between the island and the mainland, permitting predators to gain access to the gull colonies. Furthermore, it was suspected that a continued lowering of the water would jeopardize the food resources of the lake, consisting of billions of tiny brine shrimp and alkali flies. California Gulls depend upon these, and so do tens of thousands of migrating Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalaropes, and hundreds of thousands of Eared Grebes. The outcome of the legal battle was that the city of Los Angeles agreed to limit its diversions, so the lake could be maintained at a healthy level. The region covered here includes not only the lake itself but also some of the watershed to the west, extending to 10,000 feet at Saddlebag Lake. It also covers some of the sagebrush country to the east, and north to Bodie. In the fall, the slopes of the Sierra Nevada in many places turn to spectacular yellow and gold colors because of the extensive aspen groves. Specialty birds: Resident—Sage Grouse; White-tailed Ptarmigan; Steller’s and Pinyon Jays; Clark’s Nutcracker; Black-billed Magpie; Mountain Chickadee; Pygmy Nuthatch; Rock Wren; Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; Cassin’s Finch. Summer—Snowy Plover; California Gull; Common Poorwill; Calliope Hummingbird; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Red-naped and Red-breasted Sapsuckers; Western Wood-Pewee; Dusky and Gray Flycatchers; Say’s Phoebe; Violet-green Swallow; Mountain Bluebird; Sage Thrasher; MacGillivray’s Warbler; Western Tanager; Green-tailed Towhee; Brewer’s and Sage Sparrows; Lazuli Bunting. This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."

Activity Type: Birding
Nearby City: Bridgeport
Trail Type: Several options
Best Times: Best April-July for most birds; October for peak numbers of Eared Grebes; July-August for phalaropes; late July for White-tailed Ptarmigan and other high-elevation birds.
Local Contacts: Mono Lake Ranger District; Bodie State Historic Park.
Local Maps: DeLorme Northern California Atlas & Gazetteer.
Driving Directions: Directions to Mono Lake Region

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May 2018