Spring Migration of TUNDRA SWANS was Huge!

My observation this year is that the spring migration of Tundra Swans represented a truly significant population moving north up the river. Viewing from the Wisconsin side of the river, swans were visible in great numbers against the Minnesota bluffs. I didn’t get over to Brownsville this year, but the viewing must have been excellent. In the first many years, the swans moved through in small clusters, often barely noticeable. No longer!!

April 18, Free Trip into Louisiana’s Bayou Teche NWR

Contact: Donovan Garcia (337) 923-9718

Experience all the flora and fauna of the Cajun Coast first hand!

FRANKLIN, LA – Free guided tours aboard motorized boats into the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge are being held April 18, 2015 for the Bayou Teche Black Bear Festival.

Tours will be guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends of Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge.

Advanced reservations the day of the event are required. Registration will be at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tent set up in Historic Downtown Franklin. Please register early at the tent as trips fill quickly.

Groups will be limited in size for optimal viewing experience. Tour times are 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Trips may be cancelled due to weather.

Louisiana’s 10th Annual Eagle Expo and More

Eagle events are abounding along the whole length of the Mississippi River. Even the “deep south” is celebrating the resurgence of the American Bald Eagle.

The 10th Annual Eagle Expo and More will be held in Morgan City, Louisiana, February 26 – 28, 2015.  The Eagle Expo is a tribute to the return of the American Bald Eagle to Louisiana, which was removed from the endangered species list in June 2007.

Friday evening will feature a dinner and a presentation, A Life Gone to the Birds, by Al Batt, at the Petroleum Club of Morgan City from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. This presentation is part of the Educational Series sponsored by the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, a program of the National Park Service, and the Office of Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne. Programs in the series increase awareness and appreciation of the natural, historic and cultural resources of the Heritage Area. Presentations are posted at www.atchafalaya.org.

Al Batt of rural Hartland, Minnesota is a writer, speaker, storyteller and humorist. Al writes four weekly humor and nature columns for many newspapers, and does a show three times per week about nature on a number of radio stations. Al has been featured in the Smithsonian Magazine, the Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bird Watcher’s Digest, on WCCO Radio, on KFAN Radio and on Agri-Talk, and was given the Thomas Sadler Roberts Award by the Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union.. Cost to attend the dinner and presentation is $40.00 per person.

This three day event will also include guided boat tours into the Atchafalaya Basin, Bayou Black, Turtle Bayou and Bayou Long. The Expo will also feature seminars by wildlife experts, a presentation by Extreme Raptors, which includes live raptors, a photography exhibit and an all-day photography workshop given by C.C. Lockwood.

For complete event schedule, cost and registration form contact the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau at 985-380-8224, visit online atwww.cajuncoast.com/eagleexpo, or email info@cajuncoast.com.

Winter Golden Eagle Count Results

Press Release:

On January 17th, volunteers from the National Eagle Center spread out across the blufflands of southeast Minnesota, western Wisconsin and eastern Iowa during the 11th annual Wintering Golden Eagle Survey. They were seeking golden eagles that winter in the hills and valleys of the region.

Golden Eagle in Flight

More than 180 observers drove rural roads, outfitted with binoculars and spotting scopes to survey the area for golden eagles. Preliminary results reveal that they observed 136 golden eagles, the most ever recorded for the survey. Though this number has increased over the years, it is likely that the increase is a result of more observers covering a larger area, and more experience on the part of the observers in picking out these hard to spot golden eagles.

Observers also recorded other birds, especially raptors, seen during the survey. Saturday’s survey recorded more than 500 red-tailed hawks and 1,734 bald eagles.

‘That’s an amazing number of bald eagles for survey areas that are away from the Mississippi River” says Golden Eagle Project coordinator and National Eagle Center Education Director, Scott Mehus. Typically in winter, large numbers of bald eagles can be found along the river, congregating near open water to find fish. The National Eagle Center conducts weekly wintering bald eagle counts along the Mississippi River, which are available at nationaleaglecenter.org.

This winter with warmer temperatures, more open water and little snow cover, bald eagles are more dispersed, with few large congregations in any one location. Large numbers seen in the blufflands confirm that the population of bald eagles is still healthy, and many are finding food away from the river. By comparison, the 2014 survey counted just 878 bald eagles in the same areas.

Eagle Festival Links… and Quincy, Illinois, updates

sepia eagles on nestThe American Eagle Foundation has a section of its website (www.eagles.org) dedicated to Eagle Festivals held throughout the United States and Canada. If your community would like to update listings, please use this link: http://www.eagles.org/programs/educational-resources/Eagle-Festivals-and-Events.php

We have the following information for the Quincy, Illinois, Bald Eagle Watch.  January 25-26, 2014
Outdoor Viewing at Quincy, IL; Lock and Dam #21
Indoor exhibits and events at Oakley Lindsey Civic Center
Schedule: Saturday and Sunday, January 25-26, 2014.
Indoor exhibits and events from 9:00 – 5:00 both Saturday and Sunday,
Outdoor viewing at Lock and Dam 21: 8:00 – 3:00 each day.
Description: Bald Eagle viewing at Lock and Dam #21, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day.
Telephone: For more information, call Quincy Ranger Office: 217-228-0890

Upper Mississippi Has Iced Over in a Hurry!

sepia eagles on nest

Nov. 18… Upper River is shutting down! Pretty much ice-covered. I remember years when I was riding the Steamboats on Nov. 17th!  This morning I saw 9 eagles clustered around a small area of open water. This afternoon…. no more small areas of open water!! Eagles are abundant… I must have seen 20 in a 5 mile stetch this morning… but the river tonight is pretty well sealed up. Eagles will be moving to open water just below the dams. Swans and Pelicans evaporated! Waterfowl are still migrating through looking for open water!

Eagle nests are now clearly visible along the river.


Nov. 10……. Have been driving along the Wisconsin shore north and south of La Crosse. Lots of Swans, and other migrating waterfowl!  Eagles are also ABUNDANT as the river begins to freeze up before our eyes. My hope is that it will all open up again once the polar vortex is well out of the way, but meanwhile waterfowl and Eagles are abundant in the open water.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, after my river weeks on the American Queen, it is the adult American Bald Eagles that seem most abundant to me. Not nearly the number of juveniles that I’ve seen in late fall in past seasons. http://www.greatriver.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/watermarked-eagles-300×86.jpgWould love to hear some comments!



Historic River Maps Make Great Gifts!

Lisa's maps at village frameI walked into Village Custom Frame in La Crosse, WI, the other day and found Sue busy at work filling orders for Lisa Middleton’s historic map prints ordered for Christmas giving. The framed maps 1887 Ribbon Maps are a GREAT idea for a corner nitch, or between two windows, or as a cabin feature!


If you don’t live in La Crosse, Stockholm, Alma, Winona, or Wabasha … where many of the frame shops sell Lisa’s maps already framed… you can now order FRAMED 1887 Mississippi River Ribbon maps at the Great River Publishing gift shop on ETSY.com

frame samples

$145 includes choice of mat color (choose from those samples show) with a dark wooden frame.Maps can be shipped directly to the recipient!

Questions? Ready to order? Have another of Lisa’s historic map paintings you’d like framed and shipped? Want to frame the original painting?  Call 406-471-7563 or go to ETSY.com to order online.