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Get out and enjoy spring!

It seems that every year when spring comes around, we are ready to go outdoors. Nature has much to offer, but all too often summer arrives, and we realize we did not get to enjoy the spring like we had hoped.

Make a point of taking the time to get out and enjoy nature this spring. Whatever you choose, spring outings are a great way to enjoy a little Natural North Dakota. So, get out and enjoy!

Bird watching

From now until around Memorial Day is great bird watching. The sights and sounds of geese and other waterfowl have already begun in some areas. And of course, other migratory birds will be showing up soon, sporting their bright colored breeding plumage. Consider visiting a nearby National Wildlife Refuge. Most if not all of them provide both auto and hiking trails to observe nature.

The mating season for sharp-tail grouse is on or will start soon. If you have not watched the sharp-tail grouse on their dancing grounds, you owe it to yourself to see them at least once. You can cruise the grasslands and stop occasionally to listen for sounds similar to that of someone rapidly blowing air over the top of a pop bottle, a sure sign the males are strutting their stuff on the dance floor. Then try to get closer for a better look but be careful not to spook them. Better yet, check out a local National Wildlife Refuge. Some refuges provide blinds for observing the grouse.

We often dismiss the little birds flitting around the trees and shrubs near our homes as sparrows. But sometime soon, perhaps April and May, warblers (pictured above) will migrate through our area. These sparrow sized birds are often quite colorful, and the best time to see them is before the trees and shrubs become fully leafed out.

Walk in the park

Going fishing is a common activity. And simply going for a walk in a park, the woods, or over the prairie can be a great way to connect with nature. You might even consider going out to look for deer sheds. Deer shed their antlers over the winter, and it is around this time of year when on a walk in the woods or across the grassland one can find those antlers lying on the ground. And of course there are always lots of other things to see, hear, smell, and touch.

Flowers blooming

When was the last time you saw the pasque flowers or Nuttall’s violet blooming on the prairie, or false Solomon’s seal or nodding trillium flowering in the woodlands? The opportunities and experiences are endless.=

Chuck Lura has a broad knowledge of "Natural North Dakota"and loves sharing that knowledge with others. Since 2005, Chuck has written a weekly column, “Naturalist at Large,” for the Lake Metigoshe Mirror, and his “The Naturalist” columns appear in several other weekly North Dakota newspapers.
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