New Eagle Cam Stream Ready to go.

If you haven’t been to the website lately (within the couple of days) you will see some major changes on the Webcam pages, primarily the Bald Eagle Nest Cam. Thanks to JCWiFi for completing the expanded broadband and to Wildearth to stream our camera feed to many more audiences. It all takes time and money to get this project completed. Thanks so much to all our volunteers and those that have made donations so far that made this happen. Once the weather cooperates we will be getting the Pelican camera online. Access to this camera is a little challenging due to winds and ice conditions, for it is on an island along the channel of the Mississippi River. If you are enjoying watching wildlife from your desktop, would you consider donating?   Donate Now



Feeding time April 4, 2016

Feeding time in the nest April 4, 2016


Owl Prowl at the Thomson Causeway – Nov 21

owl-prowl-3Join Bob Walton and the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge as we travel into the night to listen for the hoots, wails, and shrieks of owls on Saturday, November 21 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. We will meet at Thomson Causeway Amphitheatre for a short “pre-owlin” program and then head into the darkness for a little prowling. Bob will converse with the owls, with a chance of drawing them closer for a good view.

The Thomson Causeway is located on the west side of Thomson, IL.  Once you reach Thomson, go west on Main Street and south onto Lewis Ave. Travel this road until you reach the campground and take the first right.  The amphitheater is located near the shower house. GPS address is 41 56.952 N  90 07.014 W.

For more information or to register for the program, contact the refuge office at 815-273-2732. Registration is suggested but not required.  Listen to WCCI, 100.3 FM for any cancellations. You can also register by sending an email to  Be sure to check out for upcoming events.

Potter’s Marsh Drawing – July 25

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the drawing for Potter’s Marsh waterfowl hunting sites will be held on Saturday, July 25, at Manny’s Pizza, 211 Main Street, Savanna, Illinois. Applications will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with the drawing to be held at 1:00 p.m. A $10.00 application fee is required. You must apply in person and must be present at the drawing. When your ticket is drawn in the lottery, you will select your choice from the 49 available sites. A $100 non-refundable fee is charged for each applicant that receives a hunt site.

Applicants are required to show the following information: photo identification, 2015 Hunting or Sportsman’s License, 2015 Federal waterfowl stamp, 2015 Illinois duck stamp and a Firearm Owners Identification Card (IL residents only). Residents under 21 do not need the FOID but must be accompanied by an adult (21 or older) who has a valid card. Non-residents can provide a current year license and state stamp from their resident state. Applicants must be a minimum 16 years old.

For additional information and copies of the regulations, hunters may call the Refuge Office at 815-273-2732 or stop in the office at 7071 Riverview Road, Thomson, IL. Information can also be found at our website:

Lost Mound Deer Hunt Applications Available – July 1

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge has announced the 2015 applications for the special deer hunt at Lost Mound are available. Two managed deer hunts, one for youth (ages 10-15) and one for adults with disabilities (16 and older), are conducted within designated Closed Areas of Lost Mound. All hunters must be accompanied by an adult able-bodied attendant that is capable of tracking and retrieving a deer.

The application period extends from July 1 – July 31 and is open to residents and non-residents. All applications will be entered into a random drawing for the 40 hunt sites on August 5 at 10:00AM, which will be held at the Refuge Office, 7071 Riverview Road, Thomson IL. The drawing is open to the public and applicants do not have to be present.

All hunters, attendants and any accompanying individuals must attend a mandatory safety orientation with two sessions being held: Saturday, October 3, 9:00AM-3:00PM to be held at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 318 Chicago Ave., Savanna IL; and Friday, November 13, 9:00AM-3:00PM at Manny’s Pizza, 211 Main Street, Savanna IL followed by a visit to the hunt area.

The youth hunt will be held on October 10-11 which coincides with the Illinois Youth Either Sex Deer Hunt. A Jo Daviess County Deer Permit must be obtained and brought to the orientation. All youth must show certification of completion of a state approved hunter safety course.

The hunt for adults with disabilities will be held on November 14-15 which is the Saturday-Sunday prior to the Illinois Firearms Deer First Season. A minimum P2a Illinois disability classification (or similar disability certification from non-resident states) is required. A Jo Daviess County Deer Permit is not needed in order to apply for this hunt, as this permit is provided by the Refuge.

Application and regulations can be downloaded from the following website. or picked up at the refuge office located at 7071 Riverview Road, Thomson IL. For further questions please contact the Refuge office at 815-273-2732.

Become a Citizen Scientist – Mayfly Watch

We will be hosting a Mayfly Watch Workshop on June 20th, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. This workshop will teach you everything that you need to know about becoming a successful Citizen Scientist, how to use Nature’s Notebook and how to identify what you will be looking for.  This workshop is intended for all age groups.  Workshop will be held at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, 7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, IL 61285.  For more information and to pre-register call 815-273-2732.

We are seeking observers along the Mississippi River to track the timing of the seasonal event of Mayfly emergence.  Every year, mayflies emerge from the Mississippi River, and the result can be extraordinary! Large emergences can number in the millions – enough to be picked up by weather radar. Mayflies are an important food source for fish, especially during the summer emergence but also throughout the year when they are in their larval form.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is interested in tracking the timing of seasonal events like these. Our hope is that our neighbors of the river, armed with their mayfly identification, will learn to notice the seasonal changes that occur on the river during the summer.



Pollination Celebration Event – June 20

Pollination Celebration – Saturday, June 20 

All programs will be held at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center located at 7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, IL.

Schedule of the Day


1:00 p.m.     Strange bee-havior: A look at how agricultural chemicals can affect native bee populations.

                       Dr.  Edwin Burgess—Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL

Come and learn about possible culprits for the decline in both native and reared bee populations. Recent studies suggest that combinations of fungicide, herbicide, insecticide, and pathogen exposure may better explain the dramatic declines in these important members of the ecosystem.

2:00 p.m.    Butterflies in Your Backyard –  Kathleen Ziemer, Butterfliz  of Iowa—Des Moines, IA

What are butterflies? What do they eat? Where do they go with it rains? An introduction to butterflies and their life cycle using pass around specimens of eggs, chrysalis and naturally-expired butterflies. This presentation has up-to-the-minute scientific studies currently underway to find out more about these amazing creatures; as well as many facts and stories about butterflies and what you can expect to find in your backyard. Includes LIVE butterflies!

3:00 p.m.     Attracting Pollinators to the Home Garden –  Elisa Rideout—Morrison, IL

A flower bed, patio or porch can become a sanctuary for butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Find out what plants provide nectar, pollen and even food for larvae.  No matter what style you like to garden you can provide habitat for our pollinators.

4:00 p.m.  Prairie Landscaping for Both Beauty and Benefit

                    Ryan Welch –  Environmental Science Instructor Clinton Community College—Clinton, IA

 Think “Native” when planning your landscaping?  Native prairie plants can attract many of our pollinators such as butterflies and a diversity of birds.  Come and learn what you can do and what you should not do when planting natives in your yard.  Where can you purchase seeds and what to plant?  Did you know: The Tallgrass Prairie once covered 80% of present day Iowa, all we have left is .1%.

8:00 p.m. Pollinators, the Night Shift— Kathleen Ziemer, Butterfliz of Iowa—Des Moines, IA

Grab your flashlight and travel into the night and see various species of night fliers that are active.  We will meet at the Spring Lake Parking Lot which is located  just off Hwy 84, 2 miles south of Savanna.   In case of rain we will meet at the Center.


Upper Mississippi River NWFR  –   Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center  –   7071 Riverview Rd   Thomson, IL 61285 Telephone—815-273-2732

Migratory Bird Day – May 9, 2015

golfcart toursRestore Habitat, Restore Birds – Migratory Bird Day – May 9, 2015

Join us as we celebrate our 19th Annual Migratory Bird Day.  All programs and tours will be held at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, located at 7071 Riverview Rd, Thomson, IL.

Begin the day at 8:00 for a guided bird walk – Birders of all ages and skill levels are welcome! Meet with experienced birders as they help you identify birds by sight and sound. Participants are to meet at the visitor center and will leave promptly at 8:00 a.m. and will return by 10:00 a.m.  Dress for the weather so you don’t miss the fun!

Take a Golf Cart Tour at 8:00 a.m. and see the refuge from a different perspective. The tour follows the Great River Trail that goes through the Refuge. Participants will learn about the history, management techniques and even be able to identify various species of birds. Participants are to meet at the Learning Center and will leave promptly at 8:00 and will return by 10:00 a.m. Space is limited to 7, call 815-273-2732 to pre- register.

Programs begin at 10:15 at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center. This will be a perfect time to grab some refreshments and sit back and learn about Sandhill Cranes and the Nachusa Grasslands.

10:15 a.m.     Sandhill Cranes—Refuge Ranger Pam Steinhaus

11:15 a.m.     Nachusa Grasslands – Hank Hartman

Nachusa Grasslands is located between Oregon, Dixon and Franklin Grove, IL that consists of 3100 acres of prairie remnants, restorations, and reconstructions. Remnant prairie knobs were protected from the plow by an unfarmable overlay of St. Peter Sandstone. Starting in 1986 with the purchase of 250 acres, The Nature Conservancy has gradually recreated a vision of 1800 Illinois’ mosaic of prairie, savanna and wetlands. Come and learn about the bird that saved the grasslands.

Join us for an afternoon of birding in Lost Mound (formerly Savanna Army Depot). Participants are to meet at the Lost Mound Office parking located at 3159 Crim Road, Savanna, IL  at 1:45 p.m. and will return around 5:00 p.m.  There is no fee, but seating is limited. Please call 815-273-2732 to pre- register. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera so you don’t miss those “Kodak” moments.

2015 Bald Eagle Photo Contest Winners

The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge thank you and congratulate all participants that entered the 2015 Bald Eagle Photo Contest. We had 40 photographers submit 107 photos within the three categories: DSLR, Point and Shoot and Youth. We would also like to thank Camera Corner in Davenport, IA for donating many of the prizes. Thank you also to the Quad Cities Camera Club for doing the judging. It is possible that we may run the contest again for the 2016 Clinton Bald Eagle Watch. So, get out there and take some photos. We would love to see more youth enter. This is a great time to get them involved.
The Photo Contest will be on display at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center until Jan 31st. A video of the photo contest can be viewed on our UTube channel. ( )


1st D9 1st Place – DSLR – Mike Trahan

1st P17 1st Place – Point and Shoot  Connie Zink


Y2 1st Place – Youth  Ethan Brown


D47 People’s Choice