The Greenwater Report for July 15, 2002

Greenwater Provincial Park - Monday, July 15, 2002 - by: Jerry Crawford


July 14th, 2002: Another hot day, but with a light overcast that takes the bite out of the sun. Quite a strong southeast wind has the trees swaying and black poplar leaves turned inside out. Doreen says that is supposed to mean rain, but I have never known it to work. We have a fifty percent chance of rain, so can only hope.




Anyone having holidays the first half of July can’t complain about the weather. The beach has been a very popular place, from about 10 am to after supper. Another popular attraction is the line of four-wheeled bikes that Rose rents out of the Park store. They are everywhere.



Doreen drew my attention to an article in the Travel Saskatchewan section of yesterday’s Star Phoenix. written by Murray Lyons. He says his family came here sometime in the past, and from his description of the beach area, it must have been back in the fifties. First, he refers to Greenwater as a prairie park; the Parkland is a strip of Saskatchewan stretching from Manitoba on one side to Alberta on the other, and Greenwater is in that strip, besides being within the Porcupine Forest. Prairie park? No way!



18 hole

He says: “There is a nine hole golf course nearby and retired NHL players from the Kelvington area can be spotted.” Boy, I bet they love that! And nine holes? Last time I looked, it was an 18-hole, grass greens, world-class golf course!




Then he mentions the row of planted cottonwoods between the beach and the parking lot, and that sounds like the Greenwater of the fifties. I suspect he wrote the article in a hurry and from a dim, distant memory. Damned by faint praise!




The park crew have been trenching and installing some black plastic irrigation pipe; it will let them water the lawns at the entry gate, store, horseshoe pitch, etc. with untreated water. This will ease the load on the water treatment plant, which is at full capacity on hot days.




There is a loon’s nest at the edge of some reeds near the west point; every time we went by for about a week, there would be a loon on the nest, but stretched out low, with its beak almost in the water and its wings spread out over the nest, making as low a profile as possible. We went by there on Wednesday, and the nest was empty. No loons about, either. On Thursday, there were two loons in the pond just north of the reed bed, and one was carrying two little ones on its back. We gave them lots of room.



There was a merganser standing on a log by the shore; it didn’t seem too worried about us sailing by, twenty feet away. A little farther along, we saw a gull making swooping dives at the water; when we got a bit closer, we saw seven tiny mergansers; when the gull would dive, the babes would dive. We moved a bit closer to give them some protection, but suspect the gull had tired of the game by then. We watched as the little ones paddled along the shore a hundred yards or more, occasionally making darts to one side or the other, likely catching bugs. They met a beaver, which ignored them, and they it. They reached the merganser standing on the log, but just kept going north. Cute! I hope they make it.




We went out on the boat yesterday morning and again in the evening. Blaine caught a small jack in the morning, and Sandy a couple of nice sized pickerel in the evening. We had them for lunch today and they were delightful.


While out there, we saw an osprey hunting for food. It swooped low over the water, striking the surface with its talons, but seemed to come up empty. A little farther along, it struck the surface again, and then again, and we could see nothing in its talons. A bit later, there was an osprey on the shore ripping away at something pretty big; either it was successful in its hunt or it was reduced to eating a dead fish washed onto the shore. I wonder if an osprey would take ducklings? Our book refers to its diet as almost exclusively fish.




About the same place, high in a dead tree, were two large birds. We thought they were ospreys at first, but through the glasses could see a long bill and neck. All we could think of was cormorants, which are common here in spring and fall, but I have never seen them in the summer.




When we go to the Beach Café for coffee, our favorite occupation is watching the Park’s mowers at work. Charlie Machinskinic and Riel Bossé have both been running the mowers for years. The mowers are industrial and front-mounted, with steering wheels in the rear. They must make a six or seven foot cut and travel faster than walking speed. They can charge up to a little birch sapling, swing around it without missing a blade of grass and move off without ever scraping the sapling’s bark. It looks like a lot of fun, but they have never let me try it. I suppose it gets boring after awhile.


  Doreen & Jerry Crawford
Box 100, Chelan, SK S0E 0N0 (306) 278-3423