Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mud Lake / Britannia Conservation Area - In Spring!

I first went to Mud Lake in October after viewing a post by Andrea at Quietfish  It's a short drive from here in quaint Britannia Village (which I had equally failed to discover unhtil last summer) and today we decided to go there again in the hopes of seeing some ducks.  I had three young ones with me and we didn't actually pursue the trail around the lake as it looked a bit snowed-in at least at one end, and the littlest man probably would not have made it around.

We did however take a walk down a short trail on the other side of the road to the Ottawa River (or at least a small arm of the Ottawa River.  And it was beautiful.  Really beautiful.  It didn't hurt that the sun was just coming through the clouds, or that there were large melting ice formations along the trees standing in the water a few feet from sure.  It was spring weather, slushy but not yet muddy and there were ducks, and geese and seagulls and squirrels and the sounds of lots of birds.  In fact we did even see a cardinal.  Next time, and I wish it could be tomorrow, we will take the camera and the binoculars.  We will also be sure to make our way around the lake.  There's a painted rock there (apparently with a scarey face!) that I want to see. 

In the meantime, I need my camera surgically attached to my right hand.

When near the Ottawa River at this time of year, never get too close.  The water is COLD and little people in particular can easily lose their footing.  Never take a risk.

To reach Mud Lake from Kitchissippi, take Carling Avenuewestward.  Just after you pass the Carling / Richmond Road intersection turn right at Britannia Road (this is before you reach Britannia Park).  Follow Britannia Road as far as you can and then turn right on Cassels Road.  You can't miss Mud Lake which will be on your right.  You can also reach it via the NCC trail but I'd wait till the snow clears a bit more for that.  Great bike destination for the summer though!

The NCC describes Mud Lake and the  Britannia Conservation Area as follows

 "A patch of wilderness in the middle of an urban setting,  Mud Lake is an amazing area of forest and wetlands. Located in Ottawa’s west end, Mud Lake is home to hundreds of species of wildlife, with raccoons, frogs, turtles and foxes, to name but a few. This ecologically significant urban natural landscape is also prime birding territory, with thousands of birdwatchers coming each year to observe hundreds of different species. A walk through this easy-to-access urban jungle provides an exciting escape from city life."

For more detailed information about birds in the area visit the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club at This "5-kilometre stretch of shoreline and conservation area bordering Lac Des Chenes and the Ottawa River represents, without question, the best year-round birding hotspot in Ottawa", they say.