April 27th, 2015
Mud Lake is a wetlands area in the western part of Ottawa known as Britannia Beach. There is a beach and a yacht club located on the Ottawa River. A circular walking trail takes you around the lake and the wetlands. The signboard tells us that the wetlands of Canada are similar to the coral reefs and the rain forests in that they are rich in animal and plant life. Canada has more than a quarter of the worlds wetlands.
And on this cool April day where we are still waiting for spring to arrive, there was no way I expected to see the number and diversity of birds, animals, reptiles and flowers as we saw today.
Canada Geese apparently mate for life and all along the shore we saw couples of nesting geese. The geese are incredibly protective of their nests and we saw a female goose rise from her nest honking wildly to chase away another goose. Yet on land they actually approached us as if asking to be fed.
This wetland is home to beavers. We saw evidence everywhere of trees cut down by the beavers. There were also a number of beaver dams one of which seemed to be a nesting site for a couple of Canada geese. A small inlet off the lake was like a scene from a wildlife movie – male and female wood ducks, mallards, and geese all feeding happily. The wood ducks seemed like they were dressed up for Carnevale with a stunning green crested head and graphic striped body feathers. And everywhere grey, black and red squirrels crazy happy that the hibernation time is over and jumping and running everywhere. And as for the reptiles – a large garter snake hissed at us and turtles were warming themselves on a log protruding from the water.
And then the flowers- waves and waves of thousands of bright blue Siberian Squill – Scilla siberica – which I found out on the internet are not native to Canada but more than likely their bulbs were uprooted by squirrels and brought to the wet lands where they now thrive in a spectacular fashion.