Sunrise at Mono Lake Old Marina Area, Lee Vining, CA - September 2015

T and I finally took a trip to Mono Lake. We'd arrived in the area just in time for sunset. See that post here.

Since our trip to Mono Lake was a bit last-minute we weren't able to find a hotel room in Lee Vining, which is the town closest to the lake. We stayed instead about 25 miles north in Bridgeport. Our goal was to get back to the south side of the lake before sunrise, but we were a bit late for that so instead we stopped as soon as we saw the lake which is an area called the Old Marina. Here's where we were:

Just as with the South Tufa Area, the parking fee is based on the honor system ($3 again).

This area felt really different than the place we'd been the evening before. More, and different, birds and you could tell that some parts of the "beach" had been recently submerged because they were wet and muddy.

I spent a long time taking photos of an American Avocet that landed near me. Such a beautiful bird!

American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana)

The reflections on the water were stunning and while there were a few other people there taking photos, it was very peaceful and quiet.

Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)

Puddles on the ground were completely covered with the alkali flies that are abundant in this lake (and one of the main food sources for all the migrating birds) but they were strangely still and didn't fly at us or around our heads.

Some areas of the beach were covered with these husk-looking things. I looked it up later and it turns out they are the casings from the fly larvae.

According to the Mono Lake Committee website these were an important food source for native people:

"The alkali fly was an important source of food for the Kutzadika'a people during the summer months. Linguistically related to the Northern Paiute peoples, the Kutzadika'a (pronounced Kootz-a'-di-ka-a') lived part of the year in the Mono Basin hunting and gathering. The pupal stage of the alkali fly was collected in shallow water along the lakeshore. Since the pupae are rich in fat and protein, they were an excellent source of food that were dried and used in stews. The Kutzadika'a even traded this delicacy with neighboring peoples. Kutzadika'a means "fly eater" in the Kutzadika'a native tongue."

After leaving this area we went to have breakfast and decide how to spend the rest of the day before heading back south to Los Angeles.

For more of my photos of Mono Lake see my Flickr set.