Owens Lake Bird Festival Tours

 

 


2017 Tours


2017 Owens Lake Bird Festival Field Trip Descriptions

 

Saturday Morning

Massive Migration Tour with Debbie House and Susan Steele- Are you looking to see as many birds as possible? The 2015 Owens Lake Bird Count recorded over 97,000 birds and 57 different species. Debbie knows the lake like no one else. She has spent years surveying the birds all over the lake noting where they nest and feed. There are many habitats and Debbie knows them all. Join Debbie on an exploration of various Owens Lake habitats searching for large numbers of spring migrants.

Birding and Photography with Bob Steele- Join professional photographer Bob Steele and learn how to photograph birds while exploring Owens Lake. Bob offers a wealth of technical knowledge on the craft and process of birding photography. Take your photography to the next level.

Owens Lake Exploration with Tom and Jo Heindel and Chris Allen- Take this opportunity to view how Owens Lake restoration efforts have improved the lake’s habitat and brought the stunningly obvious return of birds since 2002. Although the emphasis of this tour will be on ducks and shorebirds, we are often treated to a hunting Peregrine Falcon, vocalizing rails, and whatever else wants to be seen. If you have a telescope bring it, since many birds may be a good distance from the shoreline.

Spring Migrants of Owens Lake with Jora Fogg and Kristie Nelson- Visit the water and mud flats of the lake to look for migrating shorebirds, waterfowl and waders and see how many birds we can find.

Into the Heart of Owens Lake with Julie Anne Hopkins and Russell Kokx- join in travelling into the heart of Owens Lake during the height of spring migration. Expect to see hundreds of birds and 15 or more species of shorebirds. Learn how to tell a western from a least sandpiper. Is it true that some of these birds are moving from South America to the Far North - polar bears?

 

Birds of the Cartago Springs Wildlife Area with Lacey Greene and Andrea Jones- Tour this Department of Fish and Wildlife property that has well developed wetlands and mudflat foraging areas for shorebirds and waterfowl. Last year’s Owens Lake bird count saw almost 60,000 shorebirds. How many will you see at Cartago Springs?

Wind Birds: In Search of Migrating Shorebirds with Mike Prather and Ali Sheehey- Tour crucial migratory bird habitat - marshes, meadows, ponds, mud foraging areas - to search out birds in their greatest concentrations. Mike guarantees that this tour will make your jaw drop.

Birding for All Skills with Chris and Rosie Howard- Explore Owens Lake and observe shorebirds and waterfowl during migration from Central and South America to the Arctic. How many different bird species can you observe?

Habitat Mangament and the Owens Lake Master Project with Jeff Nordin- explore management and ecological plans for the Owens Lake as managers work to balance restoration efforts with water demands. This is a success story that has brought on the return of migratory birds to Owens Lake.

 

Saturday Afternoon

The White Gold of Owens Lake; a Hundred Years of Mining the Brine with Richard Potashin - This field trip focuses on the rich history of mining Owens Lake for its treasure house of non-metallic minerals. Explore the sites of soda ash plants and company towns that sprung up around the lake pursuing that effort. Emphasis will be placed on personal stories and vignettes from people closely associated with this industry.

Massive Migration with Debbie House- Are you looking to see as many birds as possible? The 2015 Owens Lake Bird Count recorded over 97,000 birds and 57 different species. Debbie knows the lake like no one else. She has spent years surveying the birds all over the lake noting where they nest and feed. There are many habitats and Debbie knows them all. Join Debbie and Susan on an exploration of various Owens Lake habitats searching for large numbers of spring migrants.

The Port of Keeler Historic Walking Tour with Max Rosan and Karen Riggs- Walking tour of the historic little town of Keeler on the eastern edge of Owens Lake. Keeler was the end of the line for the Carson & Colorado Railroad that stretched north to Carson City and serviced the agriculture and mining activities in the Owens Valley. Visit the 1883 Carson & Colorado Railroad Station plus the old talc mill, Keeler Plunge, and one room schoolhouse. Experience many historic buildings and interesting stories as you pass through the town.

Spring Migrants at Owens Lake with Collette Gaal and Susan Steele- Visit the water and mud flats of the lake to look for migrating shorebirds, waterfowl and waders and see how many birds we can find.

Shorebird and Waterfowl Habitat Visitation with Chris Allen - Visit the various shorebird and waterfowl habitats on Owens Lake – shallow flooding ponds and meadow/marsh areas. Marvel at these marathon migrants moving between hemispheres.

Travel into the Heart of Owens Lake with Kristie Nelson – join in travelling into the heart of Owens Lake during the height of spring migration. Expect to see hundreds of birds and 15 or more species of shorebirds. Learn how to tell a western from a least sandpiper. Is it true that some of these birds are moving from South America to the Far North - polar bears?

Geologic History of Owens Lake with Dave Wagner- On this field trip we will explore the evolution of Owens Lake and its basin.  We will learn about the geotectonic development of the basin, the shoreline level changes over the last 27,000 years, and examine ancient beaches, water-carved scarps, and fossils that are evidence for these changes. The trip will be 2 to 3 hours and the stops are all on highways or graded dirt roads easily traversed by two wheel drive vehicles.

Diaz Lake with Chris and Rosie HowardDiaz Lake is a recreation area just south of Lone Pine. With its open water, marshes, willow thickets, mature cottonwoods, and open fields, Diaz Lake provides varied habitats for many migrant songbirds and waterfowl. We will scope the lake from the parking lot and walk the southern edge of the lake around to the campground.  We expect to see several species of flycatchers, warblers, and other migrating songbirds.  We will be walking on a paved road. This trip is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. 

 

Birds and Botany in the Alabama Hills with Julie Anne Hopkins and Russell KokxIf you have a hankerin’ to see native plants in flower, and the birds among them, join us for an Alabama Hills saunter.  April is the optimal month to see a range of local plant favorites such as scarlet locoweed, golden linanthus, and sand blossoms. Join this outing to find birds and spring wildflowers.

 


Sunday Morning

Shorebird and Waterfowl Identification with Russell Kokx - Study shorebird and waterfowl identification by watching migrating birds out on Owens Lake. Several species of note found last spring include Red-breasted Merganser, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Franklin’s Gull and even a lone Cattle Egret. Maybe on this tour you’ll spot the rare Cattle Egret.

Birds of the Cartago Springs Wildlife Area with Lacey Greene and Andrea Jones- Tour this Department of Fish and Wildlife property that has well developed wetlands and mudflat foraging areas for shorebirds and waterfowl. Last year’s Owens Lake bird count saw almost 60,000 shorebirds. How many will you see at Cartago Springs?

Wind Birds: In Search of Migrating Shorebirds with Mike Prather and Ali Sheehey- Tour crucial migratory bird habitat - marshes, meadows, ponds, mud foraging areas - to search out birds in their greatest concentrations. Mike guarantees that this tour will make your jaw drop.

Owens Lake Photography Tour with Martin Powell – Join longtime resident Martin Powell and explore the Owens Lake landscape through the lens of your camera. This tour will be a non-technical photography trip out to Owens Lake to look for birds and photograph them in a relaxed manner.

Where the Desert Meets the Mountains with Paul McFarland - Explore the natural and cultural history thriving where ecosystems collide. With vehicle stops and short meandering walks (less than 1/4 mile each), this trip travels from the dry Mojave zone along the fan of the mountains up into the Sierra via steep-walled Cottonwood Canyon. Much to any naturalist's delight Cottonwood Canyon, and its namesake Cottonwood Creek, boasts a rare live oak-cottonwood riparian woodland bordered by sagebrush-pinyon uplands. Trip highlights may include birds from swifts to woodpeckers, butterflies from blues to whites, and, if El Nino delivers, a potential cavalcade of wildflowers. Cool shade and singing mountain stream included as an added bonus. *Friends of the Inyo is opporating under a special use permit from the Inyo National Forest. Friends of the Inyo is an equal opportunity provider.

Aquatic Habitats of Owens Lake - Life in Strange Waters with Dave Herbst, PhD - This is a hands-on exploration of the invertebrate food web of Owens Lake. Migrating birds need to refuel during their flights so where does the energy come from?

Owens River Exploration with Ben Wickham and Jora Fogg- Owens Lake would not exist without the river that drains the Sierra snowpack. Come explore a beautiful section of the Owens River and the birds along the way, while discussing watersheds and the intricate connection between mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, wildlife, and people. Walk and enjoy a couple miles of the Owens River Water Trail, which could someday provide exciting recreational opportunities in the lower Owens Valley.

Geologic History of Owens Lake with Dave Wagner- On this field trip we will explore the evolution of Owens Lake and its basin.  We will learn about the geotectonic development of the basin, the shoreline level changes over the last 27,000 years, and examine ancient beaches, water-carved scarps, and fossils that are evidence for these changes. The trip will be 2 to 3 hours and the stops are all on highways or graded dirt roads easily traversed by two wheel drive vehicles.

photo by Robin Black