Every year the day arrives when I can say “spring has sprung in the valley,” Today was that day! 49 degrees. Sandhill cranes, redwing blackbirds, Canada geese, a pair of trumpeters, a turkey vulture, a Valley awash in snow melt. While it seems late compared to recent arrival dates, a quick review of past Sandhill arrival dates shows that the cranes arrived right on schedule.
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
Well, this is a first! I’m starting to hear that folks south of La Crosse are hearing Sandhill Cranes… but normally, I don’t release such reports until I confirm for myself that nesting cranes have moved in.
This year, there have been a number of interesting Sandhill Crane reports. So far, I’ve heard of 1) a group of 6 or so cranes who spent the whole winter in Wisconsin 2) cranes gathering in Madison by March 1, and finally a phone call that cranes were calling along Coon Creek south of La Crosse by March 4. But it’s been like -12 degrees, and the few minutes I could stand outside, didn’t happen to be the moments that cranes were calling. So yes, I think they are back right on time this year. We should all be seeing them as temps warm up this next week! Once the ice begins to break up (not happening yet) Tundra Swans should be moving in.
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.
The La Crosse Audubon group will be again sponsor The La Crosse Area Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 15th. Birders who want to participate, can contact Dan Jackson <DanJackson@lbwhite.com>
The La Crosse Area CBC is centered on the La Crosse County Courthouse and extends north to County OT, south to the southern tip of Goose Island, west to Hokah, MN, and east past Barre Mills. (See a map at: http://www.couleeaudubon.org/CBC_LaCrosse.pdf). If anyone lives within the count circle and isn’t available to help with a section, we can also use your help by having you count birds at your own feeder.
The annual Christmas bird count reminds me of the little research I did a few years past into why so many old post cards featured a dead bird. Interesting story which I will relate shortly!!!
Tundra Swans are beginning to appear in larger numbers on Pool 8. Check at the waysides south of Goose Island on Hwy 35, and south of Brownsville, MN, on Hwy 61 S. To see historical data on our fabulous Tundra Swans, use the SEARCH Button at the top of the page!! Look for a sunny day and take a drive along the Upper Mississippi River. Numbers should increase throughout the rest of November as the Swans move south and then make a Eastern turn toward the East Coast.
FERRYVILLE — The Ferryville Tourism Council will host its annual Fall Migration Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, in River View Park on Highway 35.
Additional birding events will be held beginning at 8 a.m. at the Driftless Center in Lansing, Iowa, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the birding observation area at Brownsville, Minn., Hwy. 26, all on Nov. 10.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore the excellent DRIFTLESS CENTER in Lansing, Iowa, do take advantage of this opportunity. Enjoy the huge deck/porch that offers a wide view north toward the historic Lansing Bridge. There have been eagles in the vicinity each time I’ve visited.
Additionally, the displays capture our river heritage as well as any museum north of Dubuque. Live snakes, including a timber rattler, our clamming heritage, driftless geography, commercial fishing and more. Great for kids AND adults.
Brief Report: Pelicans are still in Pool 8 on the Upper River. Suspect a few Tundra Swans have been filtering in, but temps are still warm enough to keep them up north. I look for the first sheets of ice as the harbinger of the main Tundra Swan migration!
How cool is this? We just discovered that Our favorite hand painted Mississippi River maps can now be purchased online as tote bags, wood signs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, yoga mats and more! Click image below to purchase our coffee mug for yourself or as a gift!
Driftless Region Map on your coffee mug! $14 at FineartAmerica.com Click image to choose your favorite mug!
Click this link to search ALL LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS, each with your favorite hand painted Mississippi River map! Choose your map, your product or gift options, sizes, colors, orientation and more. Choose from stretched canvas to throw pillows to T-shirts
Don’t see your favorite map in our product catalog?? Call 888.255.7726 and we will help you find it, or get it posted for you! Looking to license an image for your commercial product? YES, we do that!
Save 40% UNTIL APRIL 26 on any of TWO of our $19.95 books atGREAT RIVER ARTS!Order on line and use the Discount Code FOLKS at checkout. (No other discounts apply) Order to 888-255-7726. Or Phone your Order to 888-255-7726.
“Mike’s Railroading books are for people who love to immerse themselves in the days of Steam. They are colorfully written, well-edited and take one through a gamut of emotions. You will read them more than once!” ~ Purchaser comment
This is a great opportunity also to Purchase all FOUR of our DISCOVER! AMERICA’s Great River Road series and SAVE 40% over the regular individual pricing! 1000+ pages of fascinating information about the Heritage and Natural History of the Mississippi River. A first class collection for Traveler and resident alike by River Author, Pat Middleton. Order on line at Great River Arts and use the discount code FOLKS or phone 888-255-7726 to order by April 26! We have never made an offer like this! Save more than $30!
Larger format FINE ART Prints (18×20 and larger) of ALL Lisa Middleton Maps are available for 40% off at greatriverarts.com when you use the code FOLKS, at checkout.
This is an amazing opportunity for those who prefer a larger format of any map from Great River Arts. Only until April 26!! Check this out today! Or call 888-255-7726 to ask about having a CUSTOM MAP designed!
SPECIAL MAP OFFER for our river buffs: Purchase 2 of our newest custom designed maps and save 40%. Get BOTH MAPS for just $35. This is a special $62.50 value from Great River Publishing! Available by phone only. 888-255-7726
The DRIFTLESS Region map (above) captures portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois anchored by the Mississippi River.
Its corollary is the ICE AGE TRAIL that follows the moraines of the last Ice Age from Door Count, Wisconsin, to the St. Croix River and Minnesota border.
Perfect for Dad, a brother or other MAP buff in your family! Or keep one for yourself! Each map includes extensive historical and geologic notes.