• The Mississippi: A Visual Biography by Quinta Scott

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New Years Day at Riverlands


Riverlands, West Alton, Missouri, Pool 26, Upper Mississippi River

Riverlands, West Alton, Missouri, Pool 26, Upper Mississippi River

Riverlands is the Corps of Engineers’ gift to birders. Actually, it’s Congress’s gift to birders. Congress required that the Corps mitigate acre for acre the wetlands lost to the construction of Lock and Dam #26 at Alton, Illinois. Riverlands is the largest and most accessible of several mitigation areas. It is, in essence, the overflow lands behind the dam turned into a refuge. And, the refuge office posts a daily list, of which birds have settle where in the refuge.

Between December 14 and January 5 serious birders come to Riverlands for the Christmas bird count conducted annually by the Audubon Society.

Not a serious bird I go in hopes of spotting eagles: One lone bird sitting in a tree, but lots of gulls, mostly Herrin, some tundra swans, scads of Canada geese, a few mallards, and one great blue heron, with its neck scrunched down in the cold.


Tundra Swans take off at a run

Tundra Swans take off at a run

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron


One Response

  1. Hello!
    We were up in Alton (and Grafton!) to day. We saw the swans, were they all tundra swans there? Got some pix, but the yellow mark would not be visible. Saw a nice range of birds: eagles, GB herons, white pelicans. No snow geese today. TONS of gulls, probably gathering for the open water.

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