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Prairie Sharp-tailed Grouse

Prairie Sharp-tailed Grouse. Source: Chester A. Reed, ”The Bird Book”, 1915. Received from http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/30000.

Sharp-tailed grouse cluck as they strut through the dry grass–nesting season has begun for Saskatchewan’s official provincial bird in Grasslands National Park.

Here, in Grasslands, not only the birds, but the bison have free range, much the same as they did a century and a half or so ago. While bison were gone for many years, they were re-introduced to this national park in 2005.

One of the best examples of the native short grass prairie habitat, Grasslands National Park is home to many species that are rare in other parts of the prairies. Needle-and-thread grass, Saskatchewan’s provincial grass, blue gama grass, and gumbo evening primrose (with its flowers that change color throughout the day!), are just a few of the unique plants.

Saskatchewan’s provincial animal, the white-tailed deer, thrive in Grasslands, along with mule deer, and North America’s fastest land mammal, the pronghorn antelope.

Many other specifies that once lived throughout the prairies and have now all but disappeared from everywhere but Grasslands include rattlesnakes, the yellow-bellied blue racer snake, and the eastern short-horned lizard.

And if you’re looking up at the endless blue skies, you’ll see some rare birds, like the peregrine falcon and burrowing owl.

But the acre or more of prairie dog towns are the rarest and most remarkable species of all, as these inquisitive little creatures are only found here in Canada. If you’re going through southwest Saskatchewan, just a visit to these little fellows is worth the drive!

Take a look for yourself with this video embedded from explore.org:
 

 


But now to some photos of Grasslands!
 

Frenchman River in Grasslands National Park

Frenchman River in Grasslands National Park


 
Grasslands National Park in Southwest Saskatchewan.

Grasslands National Park in Southwest Saskatchewan.


 
Prairie melodies

Sounds of the prairie. This old piano sits near the Convent Country Inn where I had a wonderful stay at Val Marie, the Gateway to Grasslands National Park.

 

This YouTube video will tell you more about Grasslands:
 

 
 

Grasslands National Park was also designated as the darkest Dark Sky Preserve in Canada in 2009. For more on Dark Sky Preserves, and the nearby Cypress Hills, see my article at: http://guide2travel.ca/2012/10/dark-sky-preserve-cypress-hills-interprovincial-park/
 
 

Visit Grasslands National Park

The village of Val Marie is the gateway to Grasslands National Park in southwest Saskatchewan.

We enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of The Convent Country Inn during our stay–I’m sure you will too!

View Grasslands National Park in a larger map

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