November 23, 2016

SUBJECT: Tundra Swans Late Arrival

Every year brings new surprises. This has been especially true this year with the very late arrival of the Tundra Swans to Pool 8 on the Upper Mississippi River. A few of these swans did start arriving in October but their numbers did not increase as much as normal as the weeks progressed.

One must assume this was due to the incredibly warm first half of November here in the Upper Midwest. High temperatures in La Crosse, WI averaged 20 degrees (F) above normal for the first 18 days of the month. The average high was 65 degrees (F)!!!

Looking at satellite images, there was no ice on any lakes in the Upper Midwest up into Manitoba and Ontario. There was no cold weather to push the swans southward.

tundra swan

I have been photographing tundra swans on pool 8 of the Mississippi River for many years and have never witnessed anything quite like this year. Swan numbers have been way down compared to previous years.

The good news is that the weather pattern has finally changed and cold weather has finally pushed the swans southward. As of November 21, the numbers on pool 8 have substantially increased although the number of swans by the Brownsville overlook is still low.

Here is a video of the tundra swans as seen just south of the Brownsville Overlook along Highway 26. If you have a 4k monitor, please be sure to use the highest resolution setting on Youtube. (Video was taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and the Sigma 150-600mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter.)


—Alan Stankevitz


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