A couple afternoons at Ottawa’s Mud Lake

Background on Mud Lake (Britannia Conservation Area)

A 79 hectare patch of wilderness in the middle of an urban setting, Britannia Conservation Area is an amazing area of forest and wetlands. It is home to a pond called Mud Lake and hundreds of species of wildlife, with raccoons, frogs, turtles and foxes. This is prime birding territory, with thousands of birdwatchers coming each year to observe hundreds of different species. A walk through this easy-to-access natural area provides an exciting escape from city life.

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Today Friday October 14th, was a wonderful above seasonal temperatures. Taking advantage of possibly the last opportunity before winter arrives. My goal was hopefully to photograph Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus), but the Great Egret (Ardea alba egretta) was very high on my wish list. Along the trail I was buzzed by many Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), White-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) looking for handouts.

Along the trail I was met by this Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), I had to put my 50mm f:1.4 lens on, as it was far too close to use my 300mm prime.

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Expecting handouts were these animated characters…

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American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)  Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

Along the trail I saw a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus) land midway across the lake, and a Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) across the lake.

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Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias Linnaeus) with 600mm equivalent, Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens, with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter. Effective focal length 900mm f:8…

imgp1077Great egret (Ardea alba egretta), Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter (Effective focal length 900mm f:8) /

I was disappointed, and thought this as good as it was going to get. But the Egret had other ideas. He/she flew over towards the start of the trail, where my 300mm was almost too much lens.  I should have packed my ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom, as it would have been perfect where it landed.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

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Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

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My personal favourite of the day, heck might be my favourite of the fall. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

Now my action sequence…

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.. success

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He was very good at fishing, this was the biggest fish I saw him catch, pretty sure it’s Brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) aka mud pout.  Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

 

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta), Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

As I headed down Cassells Road, I liked the light that was falling on the local ducks.

imgp1181Mallard Duck drake (Anas platyrhynchos) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime

imgp1183 Mallard Duck hen (Anas platyrhynchos) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime

 

imgp1020Wood Duck hen (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

With another female Wood Duck showing her colours.

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Wood Duck hen (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.

imgp1200Wood Duck drake (Aix sponsa) Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens.


Wednesday October 19th the mercury climbed to a high of 24.2°C so I headed back to Mud Lake. I approached from the south trail near the footbridge. I encountered several American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes) near the newly rebuilt footbridge. The water lever is very low, and there were now turtles basking in the sun. But to the west of the bridge there was a Great Egret (Ardea alba egretta) on a raft of vegetation. This  required mounting my 2X teleconverter on to my 300mm f:4 prime telephoto lens.

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens, with Pentax T6-2X Rear Converter (600mm f:8).

On the distant shore there were a couple mature Great egrets, and a couple Great Blue herons well outside the reach of my lens. I heading down the trial to Cassells Road and the ridge to see what songbirds might have been around, I saw a couple White-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys), the regular Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) flitting about, a few White-breasted nuthatchs (Sitta carolinensis). Both male and female Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis). I failed to see any transients I heard reported at Mud Lake.

I headed back towards the small bay where I photographed the immature Great egret on Friday. I and several others were treated with an hour visit from the immature Great egret (Ardea alba egretta).

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) eating a red dragonfly in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD SMC Pentax-M✩ 300mm f:4 prime lens

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Great egret (Ardea alba egretta) in Mud Lake, Ottawa. Wednesday October 19, 2016. Pentax ✩istD ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom lens.

Fall foliage reflections with warm afternoon golden light can create a striking image.

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Wood Duck immature male (Aix sponsa) . Pentax ✩istD ATX-Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom lens.

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Mallard Duck drake (Anas platyrhynchos) strutting his stuff.  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

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Mallard Duck hen (Anas platyrhynchos) strutting her stuff.  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

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Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) .  Pentax ✩istD AT-X Tokina 60~120mm f:2.8 zoom

All in all it was a lovely summer like day in Ottawa. Depending on how the weather holds, I might get back before freeze-up.

 

Darrell A. Larose
Ottawa, Canada

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About Darrell Larose

I am a highly motivated self confessed techno-geek. While rooted in traditional analog photography, I have embraced the new technologies in photography. I am just as comfortable under the dark cloth of a large-format view camera, as I am with a digital camera. I can produce award winning photographs within the darkroom, or from a digital-desktop. With 40 years of photography as a both hobby, and over 30 in the professional arena I have always produced. I am self-taught in the digital media, I have been a PhotoShop user since 1995 (version 2.5) I found the transition fairly seamless due to my long experience in labs. I have worked within various Government photo units, including the Forensic Photo Section of the RCMP, as well as various professional labs. I can easily converse with a police forensic photographer as I can with a wedding sports or commercial photographer. I have worked for several of Ottawa’s top photographers. I have worked at several pro labs. As well as many years in photo retail.
This entry was posted in 1, Autumn, birds, fauna, General, General Photography, Mud Lake, Nature, NIK Dfine2, Ottawa-Gatineau Nature, PENTAX, Wildlife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A couple afternoons at Ottawa’s Mud Lake

  1. A great post, wonderful photos. It’s A wonderful place. I go every chance I get.

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