The Tundra Swans have returned immediately on the tail of one of the most glorious fall displays ever along the Upper Mississippi! And we are expecting a beautiful two weeks of Indian Summer to welcome them back to Pool 8!
So right now is prime time for Swan viewing between La Crosse and Stoddard, Wis. or south of La Crescent to south of Brownsville, MN. Both Wisconsin and Minnesota offer scenic waysides south of La Crosse.
Tens of thousands of swans will stop to rest and feed in shallow open water in the next two weeks. Use your binocs and notice that the American White Pelicans are also here among the swans. If you see a few groups of large 2-4 swans, they are most likely TRUMPETER SWANS. The grayer swans are this year’s cygnets. Many of the swans seen now are family groups, so there will be many young among the flocks.
Leaves have pretty much fallen, so Eagles will seem abundant. Watch for huge black nests and eagle “snags”, dead trees for fishing that eagles will use year after year! It’s a great time to be on the river!!
Much more information from previous posts can be found by using the SEARCH button and such key words as: Tundra Swans or Trumpeter Swans or Pelicans or ducks. Also visit our interactive map measuring the density of bird migration along the Mississippi River Flyway!!
Another interesting Interactive map that shows a HIGH MIGRATION INTENSITY right through the Upper Midwest! Tracking will end June 15. Refresh page to get an updated image, or check this page: https://birdcast.info/
What a difference a month makes! Temps are settling in the 40s one week, 70s next, and then back to 40s! Snow accumulates, then melts, then falls again. Our great Mississippi rises, then falls, then floods! Just now, the crest is slipping from La Crosse into Iowa, but hover close to moderate flood levels everywhere.
Many parks are still closed, but birds are still moving along the Mississippi River flyway. They are, however, moving in fits and starts along with inclimate weather and high water. Their one necessity is the availability of food along the route. With another round of nice weather approaching Wisconsin and Minnesota, birds should be back on the move!
Our Sandhill nest is full of activity as the eggs hatched on April 29 – about a week early. Eagles are busy with their own fledglings, so check out nests for the white heads of adults busy with bringing food to the nests. Egrets and Great Blue Herons have arrived and are visible in ponds and sloughs not directly on the flooded Mississippi River. White pelicans also are checking out the smaller wetland ponds along the flooded river. We see them frequently.
Riverboats, including the Twilight, the newly restored Julia Belle Swaine, and the La Crosse Queen are all eager to start their seasons “come hell or high water!”
I will be posting several links just to remind you of what you can find on our Mississippi River at this time of year, and also on greatriver.com While I no longer post daily, our archives are filled with seasonal information!! Use the Search Button above or search through our CATEGORIES! And Happy Spring!
Fall Foliage Hot Lines from greatriver.com 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!
More Fall Foliage Hot Lines from greatriver.com 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!
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.
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!!!!
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
Dec 24, 2020. Merry Christmas everyone. Some may be surprised I still have Tundra Swans, pictured in the header. In fact, during the Christmas Bird Count on Dec 19, our La Crosse Audubon group reported counting 2600 Tundra Swans (big movement over the area), and a high number of duck species despite still water areas being frozen. So yes, you may still be seeing Tundra Swans passing through.
(Nov 2020) Now that our Tri-State bluffs are clad mostly in the deep browns of persistent oak foliage, and the first measurable snow has sprinkled down, we are seeing the Tundra swans winging their way into Pool 8 once again! It’s always one of my favorite birding seasons. As is normal, we not only have elegant Tundra swans resting and feeding, but large “mobs” of American white pelicans are gathering. Migrating ducks also form vast rafts…puddle ducks in more sheltered areas; diving ducks in open water upriver of the locks and dams. Check out the rest area near Brownsville, MN, and the open water south of Goose Island in Wisconsin. The highway pulloffs allow parking and offer scopes and often volunteers to help explain why the swans stop in Pool 8 and what other migrating waterfowl might be identifiable. Eagles are frequent and will become even more so in November!!
We have been watching our local Monarch butterflies since early August, fluttering around our wetland Milkweed and Joe Pye weeds.
With the grand-kids, we have been able to observe the singular egg, the distinctive caterpillars who ate the leaves voraciously…like lawn mowers… the delicate chrysalis, and finally, the magical moments of transformation to an adult butterfly!
Please enter Monarch in the Search Box in the upper right to see more on Migrating Monarchs from GreatRiver.com
Boaters in September will find them frequenting the Mississippi River on their meandering, multi-generational migration to Mexico and back.
Yes! Great River Arts offers quality note cards, Prints, and Map art for a variety of Butterfly Species. Find beautiful hand-painted map art and quality prints of Mexico and the Caribbean! Visit greatriverarts.com
Sunny days, green bluffs and sparkling Mississippi River remind us that fun and socially responsible activities are all around us…and not limited just to our beautiful parks!! The Great River Road offers easily accessible scenic overlooks, fishing spots, historic side routes to tiny towns with big stories to share, and a fabulous opportunities for watching large wildlife. Eagles, Sandhill Cranes, Egrets, herons, pelicans, and Trumpeter swans are not hard to spot on a day’s drive. Take a picnic lunch and a copy of the nearest Volume of DISCOVER! AMERICA’s GREAT RIVER ROAD and make each day memorable!!
Check out all our Mississippi River products online at www.greatriverarts.com Are you a Kindle reader? Yes! Books are also available online at Amazon’s Kindle books and in regional gift shops along the river.
at Middleton and Great River Publishing have provided fascinating detail on life along the Mississippi River since 1987! TheMississippi River Activity Guide for Kids will provide summer structure for the elementary aged kids. In Volumes 1 (Upper), 2 (Middle), 3 Lower, 4 (Delta) of Discover! America’s Great River Road, Pat becomes your “friend on the road” providing in-depth background on everything you see along the Mississippi River. Father’s Day is a great time to gift your Dad a fascinating regional book or an historic map he will REALLY LOVE. Check out all our Mississippi River products online at www.greatriverarts.com
One of my all time favorite snapshots of the Sandhill Cranes with chicks in 2009. While the chicks (colts) are still quite small, the adults take them strolling through meadow, marsh, and even the pond.
May 6, 2020 and our single chick was hatched right on time, in the same locale as the parents have nested for the past 14 years. This year, I noted how very quiet and secretive they were around the nest. The second adult was alway on guard, well away from the nest, quite visible, but always on task. I think having an Eagle in the neighborhood has taught them to be far more cautious than they were in the first ten years!!
A note from map artist, Lisa Middleton Friends,we are all charting the course day by day in this confusing time. It seems if we miss the news a single day, everything changes the next, and the world is upside down. Kudos to all of you who are staying home to save lives! My sincerest regards to those who are personally affected by COVID-19. Thank you to those in essential industries who keep the world turning at times like this.
Maps represent our human experiences, memories, and a thousand little stories of the ancestors who beat impossible odds to create the historical maps we hold in our hands today. Our current circumstances are no less difficult, and we can chart the course together, day by day.
Our maps are unique in the industry! You may have loved ones who had to cancel their vacation, or know of a young couple who had to cancel their wedding or honeymoon. Maybe there is a grandparent in your life who has to be alone in quarantine thousands of miles away from you. There is no better way to tell them you care than to send them a map of a memory, a family legacy or even their dream!
“In her hands, a torn black-and-white 1883 plat of Montana Territory blossoms into a vividly colored snapshot of what the land once was. It remains a map by definition, but by execution it is now an ornate showpiece fit for the living room wall, touched by an artist’s hand with its essential purpose still intact.” Myers Reese, Montana Quarterly Fall, 2014
We invite you to browse our galleries of more than 400 antique, Mississippi River, East Coast, West Coast, and original custom designed map art at Great River Arts…. greatriverarts.com !! Enter a key word in the orange SEARCH BOX at the top of the map page to explore the cartographer, the year, region or title that is meaningful to you. We hope you enjoy this gift of art and history!!