Snow Flurries Still Fall, but Life is Abundant!

This is just to let your know that while White Pelicans still abound, they are clustered up in tight pods wherever they can get out of the wind. Check your favorite Eagle nests…those I like to watch all still have adults in them, but I did have a report that during one of our sleet storms a nest was abandoned. No Tundra Swans, of course, but there are Trumpeters! Walked through Goose Island and many of our spring waterfowl are still here. Eagles are abundant, indeed. Sandhill Cranes on their nests. Beaver, muskrat, even herons are out and about. Find them sheltering from the wind and looking for some of the warmer weather forecast for next week.

Pelicans and Eagles ABOUND as Mississippi River Opens

Ice has begun to clear from the Mississippi River, and like clock-work, our puddle ducks, diving ducks, White Pelicans, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes and Tundra Swans have begun the great move northward. About the 5th of March, we were already hearing the Cranes and the Tunda Swans. This week, the great white Trumpeter Swans have begun passing our porch windows into the small ponds and creek of the valley. For the past four days, large pods of White Pelicans are clustering all along the river from Stoddard to Goose Island. Sandhill Cranes are now establishing their territories and making a rukus!

Except for a sloppy snow day today, river birding has been great. As the weather clears up visit the many roadside rest areas along Highway 35 in Wisconsin. Bald Eagles are abundant–a couple dozen at a sweep of the eye, clustered along the floating ice sheets and beside the big black nests. Happy Spring!!

Doc Powell House will be Home to Art and Visitors in La Crosse, Wisconsin!!

La Crosse and the 10th Street Historic District have something new to celebrate this winter! Map Artist Lisa Middleton, who grew up in the area and graduated from Viterbo recently returned to La Crosse for a visit and discovered a beautifully restored 1860s home that called her by name. It turns out that it was once home to La Crosse’s own Doc Powell, and visited often by his pal, Buffalo Bill Cody!  

    “My Montana home at the doorstep of Glacier Nat’l Park taught me a lot about providing a rich visitor experience for Airbnb travelers, and I truly felt this location offered many of the highlights I value in my own life. Travelers can relax in the  home of La Crosse’s Doc Powell and record their visit in the same way that Powell and his pal, Buffalo Bill did… standing by the double doors of the entry, or leaning on the mantle of the dining room!” 

    While Lisa is best known as the map artist who has painted many historic Midwest maps available from her company Great River Arts, she has expanded her base to include her personally designed maps for sought after destinations around the US and the World.  Private individuals often commission her illustrated designs for mapping large property holdings, preserves, and family histories. Her new home is destined to become a showcase for her beautiful historic maps which feature Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota as recorded by explorers, and the earliest settlers.

Lisa opening a new printing of fine art maps.

    “I’ve dreamed for a long time of having a home with a “brick-and-Mortar” Gallery and a Studio for my Art and business. This beautiful home, completely renovated, provides for my vision as well as a unique regional sense of history for travelers and short term residents. Visitors are in walking distance of the YMCA, two major hospitals, and it is in the cross-road of both Viterbo and UW-La Crosse. We are within walking distance of the La Crosse Riverfront where all the big river cruise boats dock!

     Lisa has provided guests with public and private rooms furnished with an artist’s eye. King sized beds are new and exceedingly comfortable. There are three upstairs bathrooms and one Master suite with bathroom attached. The shared kitchen offers a gourmet gas range, granite countertops, a giant refrigerator, dishwasher, and coffee machines–all available for guest use.  Renovators shared this appreciation for history…engraved radiators from the 1880s still keep the home cozy warm, the bathroom floors heated. The stairway banister, the dining room buffet, and the broad paneling along the floor and ceilings remind us that craftsmen of the era, and the wood they worked, were the best available in the world. 

       Choosing furnishings to compliment two living rooms, dining room, breakfast nook, kitchen, 4 bedrooms, three baths is a daunting task which has  been  accomplished by Lisa with all the aplomb of an artist sketching the illustrations of a new map…  

   “We have a number of guests who have signed up for the Holiday Season,” Lisa notes. “I look forward to welcoming many more who will appreciate the history and heritage of this fascinating Driftless Region.”   

 Photos and more details about the home and accommodations are now available on line at Lisa’s AirBnB site.

To visit Lisa’s online gallery and shop, visit

Lisa tells us that if you order NOW, it is still possible to receive your fine art print by Christmas! 


Tundra Swans are BACK!

We’ve been enjoying watching large flights of Tundra swans pass over the valley, and sure enough, there are large groups clustered on the slough along Hwy 35 just south of Goose Island and La Crosse! Glistening white with black edging their wings. Generally many are in the air above the flock, in a constant repositioning. Hardwoods are still colorful… oaks, maples, hickory, so come out and enjoy the weekend along the river!!

For more on Tundra swans as well as TRUMPETERS, please use the SEARCH button near the top right of the page.

Nationwide Fall Leaf Map

Fall Foliage Hot Lines from 
While mid-October seems to be the time when Fall Foliage really POPS along the Upper Mississippi River, we on the Upper River are certainly already seeing brilliant red sumacs. Softwoods are starting to yellow up. You can follow the southward march of Fall Color with the contacts below. Weather is perfect, enjoy the drive!

Try this new 2021 Interactive Fall Color Prediction Map for the entire US! It says Smoky Mountains, but it is actually the whole country in great detail!

Fall Foliage Prediction Map for Wisconsin

More Fall Foliage Hot Lines from 
While mid-October seems to be the time when Fall Foliage really POPS along the Upper Mississippi River, we on the Upper River are certainly already seeing brilliant red sumacs. Softwoods are starting to yellow up. You can follow the southward march of Fall Color with the contacts below. Weather is perfect, enjoy the drive!

Arkansas. (late October to early November)

Illinois.  800-226-6632; (early October)

Kentucky. 800-225-8747;  (late October)

Minnesota. 800-657-3700; (late September to mid-October)

Missouri. 800-778-1234; (mid-to-late October)

Tennessee. 800-697-4200; Fall Folliage Predition Map (early November)

Wisconsin. 800-432-8747; (early through mid-October)

  • And don’t leave home without the indispensable guides to Mississippi River and Great River Road travel! Every volume of DISCOVER! America’s Great River Road is filled with a variety of fascinating Mississippi River fact and lore.  Photos, maps, charts!  All Volumes contain info on birding, wildlife viewing hotspots. Each highlights Geography, interpretive history and natural history attractions along the Great River Road.

Click HERE to Purchase Discover! America’s Great River Road… St. Paul, Minnesota,  Discover! Guides are available in four volumes from St. Paul to Venice, Louisiana

Also available on Amazon as paperback ($22) or KINDLE guide (9.99).  Or phone 888-255-7726 and we will send you your copy TODAY.

BIRD CAST from Cornell Ornithology


ACTIVEForecasting ends Nov 15, 2021

How fun is this! Cornell offers a migration forecasting tool for the annual bird migrations. The 2021 Fall Migration is ongoing and these interactive maps offer an image of data collected from radar that also forecasts the weather. Each map below is current and provides a slightly different piece of data for the next three days (and nights). You can find the maps on the CORNELL SITE Here!

It appears the peak evening thus far was Sept 8, 2021, with 1/2 a billion birds in flight. Just look at how intense the migration was over the Mississippi River!!!!

FORECAST AND ANALYSISA picture is worth 500 million birdsBy Andrew Farnsworth The Cornell Lab Sep 08, 2021

The BirdCast forecast model predicts just over half a billion birds to be flying during peak flight hours tonight! Turn out your lights! Go birding! 

Bird migration forecast maps

 Learn more

Forecast map: Day 1
Forecast map: Day 2
Forecast map: Day 3

Local bird migration alerts Click and enter a city name to get local alerts!

Forecast map: Day 3

Local bird migration alerts

Search with our local migration alert tool to determine whether birds are passing overhead near your city tonight!  Learn more

Live bird migration maps

See real-time analysis maps of intensities of actual nocturnal bird migration, as detected by the US weather surveillance radar network between local sunset to sunrise. Cornell Lab of Ornithology currently produces these maps. Play live bird migration maps

Perfect for Holiday Gift Giving!

Order EARLY for Christmas! The USPS is going into holiday rush mode on October 1, 2021. Delivery will be slower, not faster!

For every Dad or Mom or Brother or Sister who loves the Mississippi River, we have a beautiful print of Lisa Middleton’s hand-painted Mississippi River Historic Map or custom design! The 5″ x40″ (approx) map print of the entire length of the 1887 Mississippi River is beautiful when framed! But there are many more: historic maps include Zebulan Pike’s 1805 map of the Upper Mississippi River. Our French Les Etats Unis dates from the mid-18th century and is incredibly detailed

Lisa’s custom designs include maps of Lake Pepin, the Nat’l Mississippi River Park through Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Driftless Region, and many more!

***** “Beautiful map of my beloved native Driftless home! I really like the painterly quality to it. Using it in my gallery display of nature ephemera from the Driftless.” ~Whitney.

Click here to see Upper and Lower Mississippi River maps on Click here to see more testimonials!

Eagle Count from Crawford County

Today’s Bald Eagle count from the Campion Boat Landing to Gremore Lake
came in at 374.  Most eagles were sitting on the ice of Gremore Lake. 
Best spots to see the birds is from the parking lot at the Crooked Oar
Bar and Restaurant or south of the bar along the roadway in the seasonal
mobile home park. 

The Crooked Oar is north of Prairie du Chien on County Road K.  N. Main St. in Prairie du Chien becomes Cty Rd K when leaving the city.  Another 35-40 eagles were seen flying overhead on my return trip to town but not counted as they may have already been counted.

“ Report from Dennis Kirschbaum

Explore Minnesota Map Art

The Minneapolis Star Tribune featured today the Gunflint Trail above Grand Marais in Minnesota. Makes me think folks might just enjoy exploring our maps of Minnesota painted by Lisa Middleton. An easy place to start is with our Gunflint Trail map!

But we have many more maps of favorite lakes, historic maps, original art! Great to explore on a winter afternoon! Click here: