Slow in Ottawa

Whilst cycling along the Britannia bike path near mud lake, I was lucky to overtake this Ottawa resident.

She took a moment to rest. I like to think she was comfortable with me guarding her. She was returning to Mud Lake having just laid her eggs in the soft grass-seeded dirt on the south side of the path. Ample scuff marks showed where the nest is.

Back to the lake …

I wonder just how safe her precious cargo of eggs are. She laid them in the top soil covering a recent City excavation. The soil has been sprinkled with grass seed. It is right between a soccer field and busy bike path. The area is frequented by house cats from the adjacent houses (nice kitty, go kill some frogs and wildlife and go poop out there then come back to mommy and daddy…).

I would like to think someone is rushing out there today to install a snow fence around the soft turf to give the eggs a bit of a chance. But it’s not likely.

I have seen turtles before along the River. Trying to climb the 8″ concrete walls that line the Ottawa River Commuter Expressway so they can lay eggs in the soft sand of the adjacent houses. What percentage of those young make it back to the River? Does anyone zooming to and from Kanata notice? Or care?

Maybe it is time we got beyond the see-the-nice-grassy-landscape-at-60-kph-style of the NCC and restore some of the shoreline to a more natural function.

We could start by building a few more protected sand mini-beaches, and asking humans to stay out of them at nesting times. In a few places along the River, there are semi-rings of large rocks to prevent shoreline erosion; behind them are bits of gravel beaches in which I have seen turtles (and small humans with plastic shovels).

 The City sewer folks have inadvertently demonstrated the value of installing a few freshly turned sandy or soft soil spots along the River for the mommy turtles.

It was their River first.

4 thoughts on “Slow in Ottawa

  1. I once saw a guy take out a mother duck and her entire brood of 8-10 chicks because he didn’t want to slow down for them. 3 of 4 lanes of traffic had stopped but not this clown. I have seen tire tracks that lead off the road and over a turtle on the side of the road. There are a lot of people out there who care very little for nature. Their idea of greenspace is mowed and manicured lawns with no creatures of any kind running around to eat one of their grass shoots.

  2. We care about the turtles! My husband and I try to ensure their safe travels after laying the nest. It is best to not disturb the nest after the eggs have been laid. You can still keep an eye on it yourself 🙂

    Please enter your info in the Ontario Turtle Tally and consider yourself lucky to have such a great encounter today.

  3. also, that’s a snapping turtle, good thing you didn’t decide to try to move her. Please don’t pick them up unless it is absolutely necessary. You can get salmonella from the shell, or worse – snapped by their powerful jaws! We often have to rescue ones on the side of the road, so we carry heavy gloves in the car and a shovel.

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