Recently I took my four year old grandson to Mud Lake, tucked in between the water filtration plant and Britannia beach in Ottawa. More of a (man made) wetland than a lake, Mud Lake is sure to delight nature lovers of any age. Also called the Britannia Conservation area, Mud Lake is maintained by the National Capital Commission (NCC)
Creatures in Their Natural Habitat
On our 3.5 km trek around the lake, we saw numerous friendly adult and baby ducks and geese, turtles, tiny frogs and tadpoles, huge bullfrogs, beaver dams (but no beavers) rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, chickadees and herons.
My grandson wanted to catch them all, but I convinced him to leave them there with their mommies and daddies.
Directions to Mud Lake
You can get there off Poulin, then Howe Street or by following Britannia Road to Cassels Street, next to the Britannia Yacht club. There are a few designated parking spots, but parking on either Howe Street on the south side or Cassels Road on the north side is easier and permitted. There are entrances to the trails around the perimeter of the lake from both sides.
There are no dogs allowed and no bikes on the trails. These rules make sense as the area is supposed to be about conservation, namely the health and happiness of the wildlife that considers this area their home.
Although you are not supposed to feed the animals, the geese and ducks in particular were quite friendly, approaching us looking for food.
This aggressiveness is one reason you are not supposed to feed them. Creating dependence on humans for food is another reason to avoid feeding them our food. Ideally, they should be able to forage for any food they need to survive.
Respecting the natural beauty is an essential rule. No littering is obvious. Trails are well maintained and should be adhered to for protection of the fragile eco system.
When to Visit Mud Lake
Open year round, Mud Lake offers beauty, peacefulness and nature at its best throughout each season. Birds are predominant in the winter months, but the trails themselves are especially beautiful when snow covered.
Between Mud Lake and the yacht club, the elevated trails can be icy in the winter and spring though, so explore these carefully.
In the spring, migratory birds are abundant, in fact the area is know to bird watchers and photographers. The latest report shows 269 bird species!
In the summer months the wetlands come to life, full of all sorts of creatures. The trails are wide and easily manageable, even for seniors or baby strollers.
After our hike around the lake, we were enjoying a snack when a snake-like formation of geese approached. Mom was in the lead with at least 18 babies following along. They waddled ashore right beside us, climbed the small embankment and disappeared across the road…