The eloquent North American black terns winter along the coasts of Central and South America. They return to Saskatchewan’s wetlands every year. A unique mix of open water and vegetation is required for rearing their young.
Visiting our wetlands during spring and summer is an adventure! Sloughs, potholes and marshes are teaming with life. On breezy days mosquitoes are not so troublesome, but it’s best to carry repellent. Less-traveled grid roads may offer relatively insect-free vantage points.
Black terns routinely build nests adjacent to grid roads. Nests will be among the cattails, bulrushes, willows or other grasses. Males feed their mates, allowing the females to remain on nests during the day. Like the piping plover, I’ve noticed males on nests during the night shift. Males generally have a larger head and longer bill than females.
Since the settlement of our province, SK Watershed Authority estimates 40% of our wetlands have been lost. Wetlands enable fresh water to move into ground water tables. They’re essential for agriculture and the long-term survival of every resident.
As I spend more time working in Saskatchewan’s wetlands, there’s a deeper appreciation for efforts made by SK Watershed Authority and Ducks Unlimited. Without exception, staff I’ve met are passionate and dedicated.
A visit to the new McKell Wascana Conservation Park in Regina is a great way for families to explore a typical Saskatchewan wetland. All too quickly responsibilities and management of these ecosystems will be passed to our children. I believe this park may inspire youngsters to become passionate, effective stewards of our resources.
The park is located at 12001 Wascana Circle. Take Prince of Wales south to Wascana Gate S, turn east to Wascana Circle, then head south about 1/2 kilometre.
Regrettably, the David Krughoff Gallery in Mortlach, SK, will be closed for the 2012 season due to health issues. We look forward to seeing David and Sharie in the gallery again soon.