It’s June, and the Mississippi River is still unusually high, but here in the Lower Mississsippi, we seemed to be in the sweet spot.

‘The Sweet Spot’ – photo by Tanner Aljets

The Missouri River is causing havoc throughout the Eastern Midwest with flooding in the upper Mississippi Valley, while the Arkansas River is pushing tons of water into the Mississippi River above Greenville, MS. We have beautiful flooded forest and a few fascinating islands above water that are great for camping.

Flooded Lower Mississippi River Island camping – photo Tanner Aljets

The songbirds are in full swing. Brightly colored Baltimore Orioles flying through the trees singing and competing for females. The beavers, who usually don’t build many lodges because of the vast amount of water, are building floating platforms. Bald eagles are off the main channel, taking advantage of the easy fishing in the floodplain.

“Cross Purposes” — photo by Keith Benoist

The female whitetail deer are showing their bright orange summer coats, while carrying offspring. They are focused on the next generation, so they seemed to not care of our presence. Turtle markings are up and down the sandy bluffs. They lay millions of eggs, which supplies the predators and scavengers valuable protein to produce healthy milk for their newborns.

Island 67 – where Least Tern Eggs nestle in the sand – photo Shannon McMulkin, LMRF

This is part of the balance of nature and the turtle population is not affected. The least tern females are showing up, with the males already here. Coyotes are calling out, while wild pigs scream and squeal at a distance. Large Delta turkeys litter the sandbars stuffing themselves on sand flies and other insects. Dragonflies buzzing along, while the Mississippi kites arriving from South America, are stalking them high in the sky. There are only a few acres of sand on most of the islands, so we all have to share the real estate.

-Mark River

M. River is the chief guide and youth leader for the Quapaw Canoe Company and southern coordinator for the 1Mississippi River Citizen Program connecting people who care about rivers with people who make decisions about them. Sign up (free) as a River Citizen today!