Auto Tour Stop 17

STOP 17: NATURE OBSERVATION

Barrens habitat consists of a great variety of prairie plant species plus several species of trees and shrubs. This habitat in turn attracts numerous species of wildlife; some of which are quite rare elsewhere. If your interest is plants, try to visit the property throughout the growing season. Since plants do not all flower at the same time, an area on the property that appeared blue a few weeks ago may now look white or orange. A good plant identification book is helpful.

Animals can best be seen at dawn and dusk. Most species of wildlife sleep during mid-day or take cover against the high temperatures experienced on a mid-summer day. An area that seemed devoid of animal life at noon can be surprisingly full of critters when the sun is low. There’s a chance you may see coyotes, wolves, bears, deer, badger and a host of other species. Follow the tracks in the sand or snow and “see” where they went and what they did. The open barrens country makes for excellent wildlife viewing.