Wildlife reserve in the heart of Ottawa

Mud Lake is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

by Brent Eades

You’d be forgiven for thinking the scene above was somewhere in the Gatineaus or Algonquin Park. But it’s actually about a 10-minute walk from the Lincoln Fields shopping centre, deep in the west end of Ottawa.

It’s called Mud Lake and its entrance is near the Britannia water-filtration plant on Cassells Avenue. Over 200 bird species have been spotted there over the years, and it also hosts mammals such as mink and beaver, plus reptiles and amphibians and many species of dragonflies and damselflies.

Mud Lake came to mind after a chat on Sunday with some folks at the Hike for Hospice, where I was asked about the critters I’d seen there over the years. Below are a few photos to answer that question.

(Note that I’m not always 100% sure about my species ID… but I think these are mostly right.)

Great Horned Owl chicks
Blandings turtle
Snapping Turtle
Cabbage White
Green heron, avec lunch
Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Northern Watersnake
Pine Warbler
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-Eyed Vireo
American Redstart
Eastern Screech Owl
12-Spotted Skimmer
Juvenile Cedar Waxwing
Juvenile Wood Duck
Great Crested Flycatcher