About The River

Friday, March 8, 2019

On the Road Friday ~ Northwest Wisconsin Barrens

At our North Country Master Gardner meeting on February 28th. We had a guest speaker, Mark Nupren of the Friends of Namekagon Barrens.

Stretching from just south of Lake Superior in Bayfield County
 to northern Polk County.
The sandy soils that define the region, along with the numerous lakes and rivers are all remnants of past glaciers. European explorers often described the region as "barrens" or "brush prairie" created by fires that for centuries burned over much of this land creating an open landscape. While appearing to be barren due to the scarcity of older forests, the grassy and brushy landscape contained a rich diversity of plants and animals.

 One of the birds that makes it home in the barrens is the sharp-tail grouse.
I have never seen one in the wild, only photos or video.

The  sharp-tail grouse have a very fun mating dance. I am not sure if I would be able to stay quiet during it. I laugh watching both of the video below.

There is nothing like the sharp-tailed grouse mating season!  
You can witness it yourself in one of our viewing blinds.

 You are able to sign up to sit in a blind to watch this amazing act of nature.

I am putting the Northwest Wisconsin Barrens on our list of adventures for 2019. The Barrens are not that far away from where we live, so maybe we will adventure in Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Wildflowers bloom during spring and summer.
Autumn colors show off during September into November.
The Barrens are also home to many butterflies, including the endangered Karner blue butterfly. 

To be continued..  once all the snow melts.


  1. That is a funny dance the Sharp Tail Grouse does. They look a bit promiscuous to me, lol.
    Hugs, Julia

  2. I'm not sure what made me giggle more, the dance or the sounds! Nature really is amazing, isn't it?

  3. That sounds like a cool place to visit! Those videos are too funny!!! One sounds like hiccups!

  4. Those videos are amazing. I've never even heard of a sharp-tail grouse. That was very interesting about the Barrens.

  5. That is amazing and hilarious! Is the the male or female or both who perform the strange song and dance? :-) Love and hugs!

  6. Thanks for sharing the videos and giving us a laugh! :)

  7. As a birdwatcher, this would be SO much fun! These Grouse have the MOVES!! Their feet go so fast that you can't even keep track of them!

  8. What a hoot those Sharp Tails are. I bet you will love taking trips to the Barrens. Sounds perfect for you.
    Happy Friday. Happy Weekend.

  9. That's so funny! And they're so close to us!

  10. They are soo cute! I had to mute the sound since the dogs were getting a little to excited at what I was listening to, so I will be trying again later to get the full effect! This also sounds like a good weekend trip for us to take, now that we have a new "farm sitter"!

  11. I hope they snow DOES melt so that you can continue the story. lol I am beginning to wonder if that will happen. We had freezing rain earlier tonight and now it is snowing hard-praying for those that are out and about on the roads tonight.
    It sounds like you had a great guest speaker. Those types of things are so much fun. xo Diana

  12. Those video are really neat to watch. I've never heard of the sharp-tail grouse. Easy to see how it got the name. Hope you do get to visit there.

  13. Well that is an amazing bird to watch for sure! I can see why people would want to sit in a blind and watch them! Nature is incredibly amazing, and the depth of creativity in this world around us constantly astounds me... and the mind of our Creator, how did He do it? Incredible... I think visiting the Barrens sounds like a wonderful idea!

  14. Many thanks for sharing the videos.

    All the best Jan


High Fives from Wisconsin!