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We're birding along the Mississippi River!

 

 

 

Waterfowl are "repositioning" on the Upper Mississippi River: pelicans can again be seen gathering up on the seed islands north of Stoddard, and the first of the Tundra Swans have already been spotted near Brownsville, Minnesota. Over the next few weeks, THOUSANDS of Swans will be resting on the Upper Mississippi River in pools 8 and 7.   Hummers and Sandhill Cranes have departed for warmer climes. Our EAGLE PAGES are becoming some of the most popular, and fishing is often at its best in early November. Our popular Mississippi River FISHING REPORT now includes DAILY automatic fishing news UPDATES!

Click Here! here to post your bird sightings, questions and comments for our other readers.

 Click here to see a 12-year history of Sandhill Crane arrival dates for Western Wisconsin. 2011 was a record, early year.

Click here to see our Mississippi River BIRDING TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Visit our PRESSROOM! Author Pat Middleton has followed the Mississippi, and guided the curious traveler since 1985! Click on the photo to see story in AMERICAN PROFILE Magazine.

 

By the way, we are also "repositioning" here at www.greatriver.com .... beginning a steady process of updating our web pages! One of my goals is to increase our ability to interact without being inundated with spam. If you visit our RAMBLIN' ON blog, please do make use of the REPLY link to send us your Mississippi River news and updates...  river questions, observations, travel news, birding, hiking... all your comments are welcome!

 

 

 

 

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Birding Table of Contents

Bald Eagle Watches proliferate each winter on the Upper Mississippi River. "Eagles are the Comeback Birds" by Pat Middleton. Also a listing of the variety of community eagle watches offered along the Mississippi River will be updated as the info comes in. 
 

  •   Tundra Swans are back on the river each spring and fall between Alma and Stoddard, Wisconsin, resting as they migrate back to Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast. This is a magnificent sight, with 15,000 - 20,000 white swans clustered primarily on Reick's Lake just north of Alma, Wisconsin,, at Minnieska, MN,  and just north of Stoddard, Wisconsin and at  Brownsville, MN.
     
  •  Check out some of the world's best birding along the Riparian corridors in Southwestern Arizona. Riparian? That means water-dependant environments. We call them "rivers" up north. The difference is that our "rivers" tend to stay in place year-around!
     
  •  We recently visited the San Pedro River Basin in Southeast Arizona. Like the Bosque del Apache and the Platte River in Nebraska, wetlands in Arizona are home to thousands of wintering Sandhill Cranes and other birds.
     
  • Enjoy the day that Fish Flew and Eagles swam by Pat Middleton. Numerous photos of the various Upper Mississippi River Asian Carp. 
     
  • "Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!" Cats, pose a grave problem for rural wildlife. This new feature suggest that cats kill between 8 and 217 MILLION birds each year in Wisconsin alone!

 

"Last year we traveled 5,000+ miles along both sides of the Mississippi River. It was a fabulous trip... in large part due to your DISCOVER! America's Great River Road  guidebooks."  Reader from Oklahoma

 


 


Rare Artic grey owl photographed near Houston, MN, by Rich Middleton


Click Here! here to post your bird sightings, questions and comments for our other readers.


Click Here to visit our Spring Arrival ARCHIVE.  

Search for EAGLES on www.greatriver.com/search.htm to see our many top-rated stories on Eagle Watching along the Mississippi River.

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Special Reports:


"First Day" sightings of Sandhill Cranes in the Stoddard, Wi area: 

3/2/2011  "Eight Sandhill Cranes arrived TODAY, making their earliest arrival in our records. Ground is still frozen with several inches of crusty snow. "

March 15, 2009  "Bitter cold night as late as 03/13/09. So cranes waited until we hit the 50 degree mark two days later."

March 12, 2008 "3 Sandhill cranes fly over Goose Island near La Crosse. 
March 13, 2008  A Single crane flies, calling, over Coon Creek near Stoddard.   Lots of melting snow in the valley. Temp of 56.7 degrees. "                           

March 11, 2007  "Sandhill Cranes on the islands off Goose Island Park south of La Crosse. Temps in upper 40s, two weeks after record snowfalls in Western Wisconsin, so lots of snow on the ground. March 12 the cranes are reported along Coon Creek and other valleys off the Upper Mississippi River."

                                Feb 23, 2005  (a good two weeks earlier than normal!)
          
                      March 15, 2003
   
                             March 13, 2002 
                                March 13, 2001

    March 16, 1999
March 1, 1998
March 10, 1997
March 13, 1996
March 18, 1993
April 4, 1992
March 9, 1988

March 17, 1987

 

A note to viewers

Our farm lies perched above a broad wetland valley. Back in the mid-80s I heard something we had never heard before, the unison calls of a pair of sandhill cranes. When it was verified by our local conservation warden and by the University of Wisconsin, we could claim to have reported the first nesting pair of sandhill cranes in the La Crosse area since before the turn of the century.

Since then, our neighborhood has maintain a spring "Crane Watch."  I hope you enjoy this Sandhill section of the Mississippi River Guide. The quote which follows is one of my favorites.  --Pat Middleton, Author, Discover! America's Great River Road

 

Excerpt from A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

"The sadness discernible in some marshes arises, perhaps in their once having harbored cranes. Now they stand humbled, adrift in history.

"Someday, perhaps in the very process of our benefactions, perhaps in the fullness of geologic time, the last crane will trumpet his farewell and spiral skyward from the great marsh.

"High out of the clouds will fall the sound of hunting horns, the baying of the phantom pack, the tinkle of little bells, and then a silence never to be broken, unless perchance in some far away pasture of the milky way."

--Aldo Leopold, Marshland Elegy



RETURN TO THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER HOME PAGE

MISSISSIPPI RIVER HOME  |  WATERWAY CRUISE REPORTS  |  River Books, Note Cards and Gifts  |  Feature ArticlesFISHING| |  Hand-painted HISTORIC MAPS  |  River Classifieds  |  Contact Us Press Releases | Photo Gallery | Links | BIRDING | SEARCH

 

 

 


 

Spring Archive:

MARCH! 3/7/10 and the Sandhill Cranes are back. We're hearing our first valley Canada Geese, starlings, bluebirds, and mourning doves. Saw a Kestrel today. And we have our first report of several hundred American White Pelicans flying from Columbia, Illinois, towards the wildlife refuges in the vicinity. Come on SPRING!! The pelicans tend to follow the ice melt north on the river, feasting on fish kill. As do Bald EAGLES which abound in March.

Last year: 3/7/10 (I like to post last year's arrival dates for comparison with this year!)
It's an early arrival for the Sandhill cranes this year. Canada Geese, starlings, and Kestrel have also arrived. Mourning Doves are cooing again.

It's MARCH! and by the 17th I'm guess many of our large waterfowl will be coming in. We got a great report from Columbia, Illinois on March 1:

"Spotted a large group of several hundred American white pelicans on 2/22/10 flying over Columbia, IL heading Northward. There are several large wetland conservation areas that are just North of St Louis that they rest at on their way up the river.

Haven't seen any flocks since... this was a relatively early group and we should be seeing more in March."

Note from a viewer: Lynn Cote' 
 

I "hot-linked" to the Cranes Page, it looks WONDERFUL.

My parents found a sandhill crane (down in the boonies of SW Texas) that had been hit by a car. They corraled it; Dad had to tie its beak shut. They took it to the vet. One of its wings was broken. The vet couldn't save it, because the "air-sac" had been ruptured on one side. My parents hated that; however, it didn't suffer as long at the vet's as it would have by the side of the road! They said it was beautiful - and quite feisty.

Just an interesting little tidbit; we didn't know until then that they didn't have lungs! Thanks, again!

 

April 28, 2010... Trees along the river near La Crosse are already nearly leafed out, butWARBLERS are still few and far between. Great Blue Herons and Egrets are again abundant.

March 22... Linda reports large flocks of Tundra Swans flying north over Eagan (Twin Cities), Minnesota.

MARCH 20...Pelicans are clustered along islands in Pool 8. Sandhills reported over Onalaska, Wisconsin, in flocks of 30 or more! Killdeer, Canvasback, robins, redwings are all back. The Mississippi River may peak at or slightly above flood level by this weekend at La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the first time in a decade.

 

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The Official Home Page for Mississippi River Travel: Discover! the heritage and natural history of the Mississippi River and America's Great River Road The Official Home Page for Mississippi River Travel: Discover! the heritage and natural history of the Mississippi River and America's Great River Road