May 14 began bright, brisk, and breezy – we couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend out on the land with friends, celebrating the conservation of our Black Lake Preserve!

1 2016-05-14 09.43.17 copyPartners from Eastern Sierra Audubon (ESAS) and California Native Plant Society – Bristlecone Chapter (CNPS) joined Eastern Sierra Land Trust to lead a tour exploring this stunning property. Along the way, we enjoyed seeing some of the diverse flora and fauna that can be seen at Black Lake this time of year. After birdwatching from a crest above the lake, we hiked along Black Lake’s alkaline shore to get a closer look at birds on the water and to search for interesting native plant species. And at the end of the tour, we all congregated in a grassy meadow overlooking the lake for a delicious lunch prepared on-site by Marci and Chuck Satterfield of Wilderness Catering.

One of day’s top highlights was getting to meet Michelle Browner, who we were all finally able to thank in-person for the conservation of this beautiful property. Michelle fell in love with Black Lake nearly 20 years ago, and purchased this 482-acre parcel when it went up for sale in the early 90’s. In December 2014, Michelle took action to keep Black Lake wild long beyond her lifetime by donating the property to ESLT.

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Michelle Browner (in blue just left of center, with the straw hat), with friends who traveled from the Bay Area to join her in celebrating the conservation of Black Lake.

Thank you, Michelle, for your foresight and generosity. Because of you, this spectacular place is now protected forever – and people and wildlife alike will experience its wonders for generations to come.

We are grateful to all who joined us on May 14 and helped make our Black Lake Preserve Celebration so wonderful. In particular, thanks go to Kathy Duvall, Julie Anne Hopkins, and Steve McLaughlin of CNPS, and Hillary Behr and Santiago Escruceria of ESAS. Thanks also to all the friends and supporters who traveled from near and far to join us as we celebrated the preservation of this special place.

Conservation depends on people like you who care – so thank you for your commitment to the future of our wild and working lands!

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A few of the unusual and interesting plants we saw at the Black Lake Preserve:

  • Cleomella parviflora (slender cleomella)
  • Hesperochiron californicus
  • Plagiobothrys parishii (Parish’s popcorn flower)
  • Spartina gracilis (alkali cordgrass)
  • Triglochin concinna var. debilis (slender arrow-grass)
  • Triglochin maritima (saltmarsh arrow-grass)

A list of the birds spotted at the Black Lake Preserve:

  • 3 Gadwall
  • 4 Northern Pintail
  • 6 Ruddy Duck
  • 34 Eared Grebe
  • 1 Double-crested Cormorant
  • 6 American Coot
  • 7 American Avocet
  • 1 Wilson’s Phalarope
  • 40 California Gull
  • 20 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
  • 3 Mourning Dove
  • 2 Loggerhead Shrike
  • 5 Pinyon Jay
  • 2 Common Raven
  • 2 Sage Thrasher
  • 1 Brewer’s Sparrow
  • 3 Red-winged Blackbird
  • 10 Yellow-headed Blackbird
  • 4 Brewer’s Blackbird