Things to See & Do
Wildlife Watching & Birding
With its many valleys, wooded areas, creeks, and rivers, the Asessippi Parkland area offers wildlife viewing, nature hikes, biking, bird watching, camping and numerous other educational opportunities.
Asessippi is in the aspen parkland which is a mixture of mixed-grass prairie and wooded communities dominated by aspen with some bur oak. Open area plants include grasses such as rough fescue, June grass and blue grama; flowering plants such as crocus, hoary puccoon, goldenrod, and wild bergamot; and scattered patches of shrubs such as prairie wild rose, wolf willow, Saskatoon, chokecherry and snowberry. The latter are often found at the edges of forested communities which are mainly trembling aspen, balsam poplar, bur oak and also some birch. In moister habitats, Manitoba maple is found, as are groves of willow.
The varying topography creates a variety of growing conditions so that there are different kinds of plant communities within a relatively small area. This is ideal habitat for wildlife. Larger mammals include white-tailed deer and coyotes. Moose and elk are occasionally seen.
In the Assiniboine Valley–Bear Creek–Shell River area the combination of plains, forest and valley is a haven for over seventy bird species including the Vireo, Warbler and Turkey Vulture. Hiking trails such as the TransCanada Trail offer birders access to many sightings. Asessippi Townsite is home to many nesting sites.
Birds common to the area include the prairie horned lark, American goldfinch, nighthawk and kingbird. In wooded areas you may hear rose-breasted grosbeaks, warblers and vireos. On and near Lake of the Prairies, there are pelicans, different species of ducks, great blue herons and belted kingfishers. This large body of water has also become an important staging area for western grebes during migration. Sandhill cranes make an appearance in September.
Riding Mountain National Park bordering the area to the east offers an excellent location to experience birding. The Park’s birding checklist is available at the Visitor Centre to help keep track of the 260 species to be found among the natural beauty and unspoiled habitat of the area.