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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Fall colour tours in your backyard

Fall is a good time for wildlife watching.

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Fall is a good time for wildlife watching. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)

Waterfowl are easier to spot because they concentrate in large numbers while staging in the area before heading south. Deer, bears, and other large mammals are more noticeable during the fall.

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Waterfowl are easier to spot because they concentrate in large numbers while staging in the area before heading south. Deer, bears, and other large mammals are more noticeable during the fall. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)

The varied topography and diversity of tree species combine to make Pembina Crossing an amazing place to enjoy autumn.

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The varied topography and diversity of tree species combine to make Pembina Crossing an amazing place to enjoy autumn. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)

Autumn colours are reflected in Lake Irwin, southeast of Neepawa.

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Autumn colours are reflected in Lake Irwin, southeast of Neepawa. (BILL STILWELL/FOR THE SUN)

Autumn is officially here and as the evenings grow cooler, the river valleys, hillsides and forests begin to show their first hints of bright fall colours.

Manitoba offers a terrific display of fall colours, especially when you know where and when to go. The window of opportunity for viewing this delightful display is open.

There are many exceptional places to view the fall colours, such as the West Main Road in the Turtle Mountains, Silver Bend north of Virden, Agassiz Ski Hill Road near McCreary, Pembina Crossing in southcentral Manitoba or Souris River Bend, southeast of Brandon.

These places and many other amazing fall colour viewing locations are revealed and described in the books "Manitoba Wild" and "Manitoba Naturally."

Many Manitobans make long voyages to Eastern Canada for autumn foliage tours while taking our own colourful scenery for granted. We don’t get the brilliant reds of the sugar maples down east, but is still a spectacular and worthwhile outing.

One example is Pembina Crossing, located near Manitou in the beautiful Pembina Valley.

"The scenery here is truly amazing, particularly when the leaves gradually change to the vibrant shades of autumn," according to the book "Manitoba Wild".

The varied topography and diversity of tree species combine to make this an amazing place to enjoy autumn.

While some areas are already displaying rich colours, others are just starting to turn. The leaves are changing earlier than usual this year, so people should think about getting out and enjoying the fall season very soon.

Some places display more vivid displays than others. The best viewpoints contain a variety of trees and dense understory. Each tree species changes colour at a different rate and each takes on a slightly different hue before their leaves finally drop.

The understory also plays an important role in providing a colourful display. For example, the leaves of highbush cranberry turn red, while the red osier dogwood takes on a different hue.

Another important factor is the viewing location itself. For example, the rugged topography along the Souris River Valley offers terrific vantage points with panoramic views across a valley. A good example of this is found at Souris River Bend located southeast of Brandon.

This location is hard to beat for its sheer rugged beauty. It has been described as Manitoba’s most rugged landscape. Regardless, it is without a doubt one of the province’s most diverse and amazing landscapes.

Another good piece of advice is to get off the beaten track. The pace is more leisurely and it is much easier to make frequent stops since there is far less traffic.

Fall is also a good time for wildlife watching. Many wildlife species are more visible now than at other times of the year.

Many migrant songbirds pass through our area in autumn. As well, waterfowl are easier to spot because they concentrate in large numbers while staging in the area before heading south.

Deer, bears, and other large mammals are more noticeable during the fall. Bears, in particular, are seen more frequently as they forage for food while bulking up for a long winter spent in hibernation.

If you are looking for places to explore to enjoy the fall colours, then pick up copies of "Manitoba Wild" and "Manitoba Naturally." Both of these nature books describe many interesting spots suitable for a fall colour tours, including all the places listed above.

"Manitoba Wild" received the Outdoor Writers Book Award and a tourism product development award. Both books are filled with bright colourful photographs from across the province. They also contain descriptive text, maps and directions to these unique and special places. Check at your nearest book outlet, call (204) 476-5210 or email manitobawild@mts.net

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 26, 2013

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Autumn is officially here and as the evenings grow cooler, the river valleys, hillsides and forests begin to show their first hints of bright fall colours.

Manitoba offers a terrific display of fall colours, especially when you know where and when to go. The window of opportunity for viewing this delightful display is open.

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Autumn is officially here and as the evenings grow cooler, the river valleys, hillsides and forests begin to show their first hints of bright fall colours.

Manitoba offers a terrific display of fall colours, especially when you know where and when to go. The window of opportunity for viewing this delightful display is open.

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