Saturday, March 19, 2011

More on Mud lake and the Britannia Conservation Area

On Thursday I went to Mud Lake and the Britannia Conservation Area, just west of the Kitchissippi neighbourhood in old Britannia Village.  I posted

It was beautiful but I forgot my camera and also received some questions afterward that I wanted to answer.  This morning I had an hour and a half free time and I just wanted to get outside!  So, I took my camera, and off I went, to Mud Lake, again.

The Lake itself is still frozen though I wouldn't try to walk out on it from the shore.  I think the warm weather has brought an end to what was clearly a well-maintained ice rink complete with hockey nets nearby, not that long ago. 

I didn't walk around the entire Lake but starting from the westerly end of the trail I went a good distance.  The trail was still snow covered, crunchy and wet in only a few places.  It will definately be soggy when temperatures go above zero again so if in doubt, take rubber boots, though preferably ones with treads for the icey patches.

Dogs are not permitted on the Mud Lake trail (though they are permitted on the river trail across the street so read on...)

There were geese on the Lake (though for "better" geese, ducks etc. go to the river) and lots of squirrels and birds in the woods.  I'm no birder but if something were to turn me into one it would be Mud Lake.  Go there and you know it's spring.  

People were even feeding the birds directly from their outstretched palms - a great experience for kids and grown-ups a like.  (You are, of course, not really supposed to feed the birds, ducks etc. but that's another story). 

My bird photos make it clear I need a better zoom....

 After the Lake, cross the street and from the small parking lot on the north side of the road you'll find what I'll call the Ridge trail and the River trail.  On both of these dogs are permitted though they should be on a leash and you should of couse clean up the waste (and watch your step for those who didn't!)

The Ridge trail takes you up a small hill (see left) and along a ridge overlooking the Ottawa River and running parallel to Cassels Road.  There are nice views and more adventurous people than I clearly did some scrambling around for photographs. 

You can get down to the river in various spots - probably every 30 feet or so.  It's a short trail but pleasant and of course bring your birding binoculars and camera.

If you don't go up the hill to the ridge, simply follow the trail down to the river and that is my favorite spot.  Again today there were lots of geese, ducks, squirrels, seagulls etc.  The mix of ice, water, snow and wildlife is beautiful.

Do not go too close to the edge.  It is the river.  The water is cold.  Nobody wants an accident and people are NOT ducks!

These trails are a poignant reminder of the importance of green space in our city.  The ability to visit this type of environment so close to home is priceless.