We went back to Mono Lake several times and learned more about this unique place. I like it because it is an ancient lake at least 760,000 years old and its significant role for migratory shorebirds.
There is no fish in the lake, but the abundant brine shrimps, alkali flies supported migratory birds. Wilson’s Phalaropes come from Canada, resting at Mono Lake, preparing for their 3,000-mile non-stop flight across the ocean to the inland saline lakes in South America. Ospreys nest on tufa towers in the lake to keep their baby chicks away from predators. Since no fish are in Mono Lake, they catch fish on lakes in the Sierra Nevada and fly back to feed the chicks. We saw ospreys catching fish in both Gull Lake and Silver Lake. Look from South Tufa shore, there is a group of tufa towers standing in Mono Lake where osprey nests can be seen. Osprey’s nest is made up with sticks. We saw an osprey guarding its nest on top of a tufa tower near the group of tufa. That was way cool!
Several creeks feed Mono Lake, including Rush Creek from Silver Lake. The source of Rush Creek comes from Mt. Lyell, the highest point in Yosemite. Rush creek seems to disappear from the ground, but it empties into Mono Lake underground. When we were walking on the land filled with a sea of sagebrush towards South Tufa area, flowing underground water was feeding Mono Lake quietly.
There is an upside down house created by Nellie Bly O’Bryan near Mono Lake Visitor Center. It is an interesting tiny house with is roof at the bottom. Everything inside the house is upside down. So the rug and furniture are on the ceiling. Even the chimney is upside down. The Old School Museum has a nice display of artifacts around Mono basin. It was fun to ring the bell of the school.
Mono Lake, an oasis of Great Basin, and a place filled with history.