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!!
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!
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!!
Here’s a nice discovery for November! Wild Turkeys quite commonly appear in their white phase. Again the white version is not a mutation, or “half domestic”, it is simply a white phase of our familiar turkey. Use the SEARCH button to see more of our “white phase” collection! We saw these too at HIDDEN HILLS off Hwy K, near Goose Island. Our toddlers enjoyed seeing the pigs, goats, turkeys, calves, and all!
If your favorite River Buff has become a Kindle fan, we now have the following NEW Kindle Editions available for Pre-order for Christmas gifting this year!
“Treasure Hunting” has been one of our most requested river topics through the years. Pirates, military trails, payroll caches, old maps and steamboat wrecks have all left tales of sudden death and unrecovered treasures. In the first of our Kindle “INSIGHT Series” we have collected a number of our previously published favorite treasure hunting stories, how-tos, and resources available to the Treasure Prospector here on the upper Mississippi River.
“One Man’s Treasure” is now available for pre-order in the Kindle Store. PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE, now, just $2.99!
Our ever-popular steamboat anthology, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER by Michael Gillespie is newly available as a quality 2-Volume KINDLE edition. Filled with historic photos, witty commentary, footnotes, bibliography, Glossary and fascinating river facts and stories. Each Volume is purchased separately.
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.SAVE $10!!! Purchase ALL FOUR VOLUMES of Discover! America’s Great River Road… St. Paul, Minnesota, to Venice, Louisiana, individually signed by the author. Four guides for $62.
How fun is this? The actual little river steamer from the movie, AFRICAN QUEEN, with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is docked in Key Largo, Florida at Mile Marker #100.
I was able to take the helm and pilot it during most of our cruise, and the gentle put-put of the engine and its “naked” operation was a huge delight. The boat itself celebrated its 100th year in 2012. It has been fitted with an 1880s steam engine and is available for short sightseeing and Dinner cruises through the canals of Key Largo and out into the Key Largo Sound. It only carries a maximum of 10 people, there were 4 of us on our little excursion!
The iconic vessel was made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name and she still remains a timeless classic. This famous steamboat is available for daily canal cruises and dinner cruises in the Port Largo Canal area and also for private events. Engine and today’s diesel boiler.
A LITTLE HISTORY: The African Queen was built in Lytham, England in 1912 for service in Africa for the East Africa British Railways company. She was used to shuttle cargo, missionaries and hunting parties across the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert which was located on the border between the Belgian Congo and Uganda.
In 1951 she starred in the famous movie directed by John Huston. Afterwards she remained in service in Africa until 1968 when she was brought to the United States working in San Francisco, Oregon and Florida. She has been the pride and joy of Key Largo since 1982, where she is registered as a National Historic site and in 2012 celebrated her centennial year. Below is a video of the steam engine. It should be horizontal, not vertical!
It has been fitted with an 1880s steam engine and is available for short cruises through the canals of Key Largo and out into the Key Largo Sound. Below left shows the steam engine and boiler (diesel). I also tried to insert a video of the engine operating.
CONTACT: PHONE: 305.451.8080 Website: africanqueenflkeys.com There is a lot of interesting info on the boat, the movie, and the history of its service in Africa!
If the Florida Keys is one of your favorite places, check out our hand-painted historic and custom designed maps of Florida available for purchase or viewing by clicking HERE on our FLORIDA FINE ART MAP site!
Find the Everglades, all five coasts of Florida, and beautifully painted historic hand-painted historic and custom designed maps of Florida by clicking HERE on our FLORIDA FINE ART MAP site!
Use the SEARCH BOX at Great River Arts to search ALL our extensive collection of Fine Art Maps from across the country and the world!!
We’re excited! Great River Arts, our historic map publisher, is gradually taking over our collection of quality Mississippi River and they are making a special offering all four Volumes ofDiscover! America’s Great River Roadand the1887 “Father of Waters” Historic Reproduction of the full length of the Mississippi River.
This is an opportunity for you to save more than $30 on our most popular Book/Map Art Bundle!
Perfect for Gift Giving!Need extra maps? Everyone who loves our 1887 map by Lisa Middleton will love Discover! America’s Great River Road, our comprehensive guide to life along the river for their favorite section! Just CLICK HERE to purchase additional maps!
All Great River books can be ordered individually as well. CLICK HERE to go Straight to BOOKS on our new Shopping Cart at Great River Arts.
Just ahead of our first major COLD spell of the season, a few dozen Tundra Swans are visible along Wisconsin Hwy 35, just south of Goose Island and La Crosse. There will also be naturalist/Interpreters on hand at the new wayside south of Goose Island. Bring your binocs and learn not only about the swans, but also an assortments of ducks! No doubt there are also Swans visible just south of Brownsville, MN.
Over the course of the next 4 weeks, numbers of Swans and migrating ducks will increase exponentially!! Have fun!!
Enjoy exploring Lake Superior’s north shore through the eyes of our map artist and the early explorers! Thank you, Courtney for writing us! See maps at www.greatriverarts.com Entire map title or region in a Search Box.
5 out of 5 stars
“I’m absolutely in love with these maps! My fiance and I purchased these to go along with pictures we took while visiting the boundary waters and these maps are the icing to the cake!” Courtney
Boundary Waters, custom artisan design by Lisa Middleton
Custom map by Lisa Middleton A fun combination of past and present!
Carver’s historic map of his travels includes so many historic notes… and the Grand Portage is carefully noted by extra large dots!
The Gunflint Trail includes lots of local landmarks which will have you remincing about when you went where and with who!
Lisa’s maps are available all along the Gunflint Trail and at many better gift shops along Hwy 61… or visit www.greatriverarts.com and search for Lake Superior maps! Have fun!