Northwoods colorama near its peak|
|Antigo and the northwoods is awash in fall color.|
According to the state tourism site Travel Wisconsin, color in Langlade County and across a wide swath of the northwoods is at or very near peak conditions, and with partly sunny conditions predicted for Sunday, now is the time to enjoy it.
A colorama map included on the tourism site suggested peak color here, as well as in Oneida, Forest, Lincoln, Menominee and Shawano counties. Color is also peaking to the west and north, although, perhaps due to Lake Superior’s influence, it remains a week or so from top conditions in the Bayfield and Ashland areas.
Points south will see peak conditions in the next week or two, Travel Wisconsin suggested.
Langlade County offers a wealth of viewing opportunities at Veterans Memorial Park at Jack Lake along its myriad of ATV, equestrian biking and hiking trails, and for motorists, driving country roads,
And even though the federal government shutdown has caused some concerns in national parks such as the Apostle Islands, all state park, forest, trail and wildlife and fisheries areas remain open for public recreation and enjoyment.
“Fall is one of the best times of the year to get out and enjoy the 1.5 million acres of state owned land in Wisconsin,” Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said. “We welcome visitors to our state parks and forests...climb one of our observation towers and take in the beautiful fall colors, bike or hike our state trails, and hunt or fish on our many state wildlife and fisheries areas.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the national refuge portion of Horicon Marsh, but the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and Horicon Marsh Visitors Center remain open and the center has numerous events planned that will go ahead as scheduled.
The only cancellations to date are scheduled work days and hikes on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail because this program is a state, federal and nonprofit partnership. Those cancellations include an outing that had been scheduled today by the Langlade County chapter.
Archery hunters have been out in large numbers on both state owned and private lands, with deer activity picking up during the evening hours. Some young whitetail bucks have already left their bachelor groups and started to chase does. A youth gun deer hunt is being held statewide this weekend and bow hunters are reminded that they are required to wear blaze orange in the field.
Musky fishing has been bordering on excellent in the northwoods with anglers reporting multiple catches on a single trip. Walleye have also begun to get more active and anglers are having increased success.
The fall bird migration continues strong across Wisconsin. Last Saturday and Tuesday nights saw especially large migration events as millions of birds moved south across the state, including the last of the warblers and a slew of short-distance migrants. The hawk migration is in full swing with peregrine falcons, merlins, American kestrels, sharp-shinned, and Cooper’s hawks nearing their seasonal peaks.
Other land birds winging their way south include American robins, rusty blackbirds, cedar waxwings, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, northern flickers, hermit thrushes, winter wrens, both kinglets, brown creepers, purple finches, and American goldfinches.
Night skies are now seeing some northern saw-whet and long-eared owls on the move, though early data indicate an unusually high proportion of adults, suggesting these species had a poor breeding season. A bit later than usual, waterfowl appear to have finally made a push into the state this past week. Redheads, canvasbacks, scaup, wigeon, pintail, green-winged teal, coots, snow geese, and other species were found in increased numbers, along with Bonaparte’s gulls and both common and Forster’s terns.
A bicyclist enjoyed the fall colors on Antigo's boardwalk this week.
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