Where to go birding around Ottawa

Compiled by C.R. Bowen, Birds Committee, OFNC
(your feedback is welcome)


Legend

The locations are organized by area:

and the alphabetical list of locations (below) is coloured coded to match the area they are part of.

Locations that are wheelchair accessible

Locations where birds can be seen from your vehicle

HOW TO GET THERE

Overview of birding hotspots around Ottawa (prepared by Alex DeVries)
Shows all locations on one map.

The following maps were consulted in preparing the directions to the various locations. The atlas used is indicated for each location, followed by the appropriate page number and map grid.

  • Ott/Hull = Ottawa-Hull Guide, Mapart Publishing Co., Oshawa, Canada
  • Ont = Ontario Road Atlas (2001 ed.), Mapart Publishing Co., Oshawa, Canada
  • Que = Atlas routier du Québec (2000 deluxe ed.), Mapart Publishing Co., Oshawa, Canada
In addition, we provide links to Google maps for the convenience of users who want to plot their own route on-line.

Locations

Alfred Bog
Andrew Haydon Park East (Ottawa Beach)
Andrew Hayden Park West
Bearbrook Area
Billings Bridge
Bourget & Cobbs Lake Creek Area
Britannia Conservation Area
Casselman - High Falls Conservation Area
Chaffey's Locks Area
Cooper's Marsh
Dick Bell Park
Dolman Ridge, Anderson & Ridge Roads (Mer Bleue)
Eardley Masham Road - Steele Line
Huntmar Drive
Lakeside Gardens (Britannia Pier)
Morris Island
Morrison Island
Munster Area & Richmond Fen
Trail Road Landfill site (closed to the public - 2003)
Ottawa River Parkway (Ontario)
Ottawa River from the Quebec side
Petrie Island
Richmond Area
Kerwin / Riddell Road Trail
Sarsaparilla, Stoney Swamp & Jack Pine Trails
Scrivens Street
Shirley's Bay
South of the Airport Area
Strathcona Park
Thomas A Dolan Parkway
Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary
Vincent Massey Park
Wall Road


Ottawa Core

BILLINGS BRIDGE
Ott/Hull — O28
[Google map]

From Highway 417, exit at Riverside/Alta Vista (exit #117) and go south staying on Riverside Drive until it crosses Bank Street. The Billings Bridge Shopping Plaza is on the left and, on the right, is a small parking lot in a park just west of the bridge. Note: This parking lot is not open in winter.

Birds: Mallards, American Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, along with a few others. In the summer months the domesticated Mute and Australian Black Swans are usually in this area.


Very young goslings following their Canada Goose mom; male Mallard in forground (photo by Armin Jakope)

Locations index
OTTAWA RIVER PARKWAY (Ontario)
East to West
Ott/Hull — K26 - 23, L21-19
Ont — page 66, Q61, R62

From Highway 417, exit at Parkdale Ave (exit #122) and turn north onto Parkdale. Proceed past the intersection with Scott Street. (Tunney's Pasture government buildings will be on your left. Look for Peregrine Falcon on the tallest building [R.H.Coats building]). Farther north along Parkdale Ave, take the east ramp onto the Ottawa River Parkway.

LEMIEUX ISLAND FILTRATION PLANT [Google map]


Double-crested Cormorant (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

To get to Lemieux Island, go east along the Ottawa River Parkway and turn left (north) at the traffic lights.

In summer, you'll find a large breeding colony of Ring-billed Gulls as well as hundreds of Double-crested Cormorants.

Birds: Among the small islands in the Ottawa River north & west of the Filtration Plant, look for waterfowl in fall and winter until the river freezes. Barrow's Goldeneye is almost an annual at this location.

Returning to the Parkway, turn right (west). Between Lemieux Island and the western end of the Parkway (the Parkway ends near Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre) are several lookouts that are well-signed and have public parking lots. Note: These parking lots are closed during the winter. From east to west:

REMIC RAPIDS [Google map]

CHAMPLAIN BRIDGE (including BATE ISLAND [Google map]), which is approximately halfway between Ontario & Quebec. There is public parking on the island .

KITCHISSIPPI LOOKOUT [Google map]

DESCHÊNES LOOKOUT [Google map]

An excellent recreational pathway connects all of the above sites and continues west past Deschênes to the

Britannia Conservation Area


Pied-billed Grebe (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: All of the above sites can be good for waterfowl and gulls, and the various rapids have hosted Harlequin Ducks and Barrow's Goldeneyes in winter. Arctic Terns are almost annual in late spring off Britannia and Bate Island. Rarities such as the Northern Gannet, Thick-billed Murre, Parasitic Jaeger, Laughing and Franklin's Gull have been seen flying along the river. The above sites provide excellent vantage points for spotting such "goodies."


Locations index
TRAIL ROAD LANDFILL SITE
Ont — page 66, S62
Ott/Hull — Z13
[Google map]

From the intersection of Highways 417 and 416, go south on 416 to Fallowfield Road (exit #66). Go west on Fallowfield to Moodie Drive, turn left onto Moodie Drive, follow Moodie south for approximately 4 km, then watch for the intersection with Cambrian Road. Turn left at Cambrian, then keep right onto Trail Road. Follow Trail Road to the landfill site which is only a short distance up the road. (There are signs for the landfill site as far back as Moodie and Fallowfield.)

VERY IMPORTANT

Access to the landfill site has unfortunately been closed to the public except for dumping. There are a couple of spots further along Trail Road where birds can still be seen.

Birds: Ring-billed and Herring Gulls as well as Great Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Glaucous, Iceland, occasionally Thayer's, and once in a great while a Franklin's Gull (May 1996).


Ring-billed Gull (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Locations index

STRATHCONA PARK/RIVERAIN PARK
Ont — page 66, Q63
Ott/Hull — L31
[Google map]

Strathcona Park is located on the west side of the Rideau River and Riverain Park is opposite on the east bank. In the winter, a patch of water is usually open just south of the Cummings Bridge and is visible from both locations.

East side of the Rideau River Exit Highway 417 at the Vanier Parkway (exit #117), head north to Donald Street, turn left and go to the end of the street. A bit of walking is required from this location.

West side of Rideau River Exit Highway 417 at Nicholas (exit #118), head north to Laurier, turn right on Laurier, and continue until just before the street ends, then turn right on Range Road. There is a small parking lot just before the first apartment building on your left.


Female Common Goldeneye; Mallard sleeping on the ice in background (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: Nesting Merlins. Harlequin Ducks for the past few winters. In the winter there are always Mallards, American Black Ducks, and a few Common Goldeneyes.


Locations index

SARSAPARILLA , STONEY SWAMP & JACK PINE TRAILS
Ott/Hull — Q13,R13, & S13, 14
Ont — page 66, R61, S61, S62
[Google map]

Travel west from Ottawa on Highway 417, exiting onto Moodie Drive (exit #134). Go south, crossing Robertson Road, where Moodie becomes Richmond Road. Continue along Richmond Road for approximately 2 km. Just before the junction with West Hunt Club Road on the right (west side) there is a parking lot for the Sarsaparilla Trail. This is the only trail paved for wheelchair access, and it includes a wheelchair accessible outhouse.


Lookout on the Sarsaparilla Trail (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

To get to Stoney Swamp, continue south on Richmond Road turning left (east) onto West Hunt Club Road. At Moodie Drive turn right and proceed south for approximately 3/4 km. The Stoney Swamp Trail parking lot is on the right. This is also the location of the Wild Bird Care Centre.

Continue south on Moodie for another 3/4 km, and you'll find the Jack Pine Trail parking lot on your left.


Black-capped Chickadee (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: Three-toed Woodpeckers have been seen near the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club feeder, which can be found on the Jack Pine Trail, east from the parking lot.

Pileated Woodpeckers can be found along these trails. Black-capped Chickadees will feed from your hand, so bring some seeds or nuts. These trails are also good for migrating passerines.


Locations index

VINCENT MASSEY PARK
Ott/Hull — O26 & P27
Ont — page 66, R63
[Google map]

Exit Highway 417 at Riverside/Alta Vista (exit #117) and proceed to the right (south) staying on Riverside Drive until you reach Heron Road. Turn right (west) onto Heron, staying in the far right lane of traffic as the entrance to Vincent Massey Park is only about 100 metres along Heron. Once off Heron turn left and then immediately right and proceed to a public parking lot which is inside the park and closer to the Rideau River.

This is a pretty park to wander through; there is plenty of room for picnics and a path follows the Rideau River. Travelling east on the path (right as you approach the river) will bring you to Billing's Bridge; going west (to the left) takes you to Hog's Back Park.

Birds: Most of our common birds can be found in this park including Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown Creepers, and Northern Cardinals to name a few. Along the river there are always a few ducks, mainly Mallards, Blacks and Common Mergansers.

In May 1996, a Summer Tanager was located in the park. This of course is a rare bird for the area. Also, during the 2001 Mid-Fall Bird Count, a Boreal Chickadee was spotted.


White-breasted Nuthatch (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Locations index

East of Ottawa Core

ALFRED BOG
Ont — page 68, P69
[Sketched map | Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 east to Highway 174/17 and continue east on it. Approximately 2 km before reaching the town of Alfred, turn right on Station Road which leads to Alfred Station. Alfred Bog and the "BOGWALK" are at the end of Station Road. Google coordinates are 45.4968, -74.8708.

There is an abattoir on Station Road, and if you are passing it around noon during the summer months, you may get to see Turkey Vultures in fairly large numbers.


Gray Partridges (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: In the spring, Short-eared Owls (nesting nearby), Horned Larks & Gray Partridges in nearby fields, Lincoln's & Clay-coloured Sparrows may be seen or heard along the boardwalk. In the fall, Sandhill Cranes which nest in the bog, may be seen feeding in or flying over the bog or nearby fields.


Locations index

SOUTH OF THE AIRPORT
Ott/Hull — XYZ 23 to 27
Ont — page 66, R23 & S23
[Google map]

Exit Highway 417 at Riverside/Alta Vista (exit #117) and proceed south on Riverside Drive crossing Hunt Club Road, where Riverside Drive changes into River Road. Just south of the airport perimeter fence turn left onto Limebank Road and head east.

Bluebird Trail: Take your second left off Limebank Road onto Leitrim Road and follow the airport perimeter fence. Take the next right onto Bowesville Road. This is where the Bluebird Trail begins. There are nest boxes along the roadside, as well as in fields. Turn left onto Armstrong Road and continue along the Bluebird Trail, which ends along the left side (north side) of High Road at the end of Armstrong Road.

Other Birds: On the south side of High Road, a Bank Swallow colony can be seen from the road looking into the LeBlanc Pit.


Eastern Bluebird (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Savannah Sparrow (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Heading back south along Armstrong Road, there is a pond on the left which is good for geese and a variety ducks during migration. Crossing Bowesville Road, Armstrong Road has an "S" curve, which is a good spot to try for Short-eared Owls at dusk.

The roads in this area are also good for Northern Shrikes, Bobolinks, Savannah Sparrows, Barn and Tree Swallows, as well as Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers and, in the early winter and late spring, Rough-legged Hawks.

In August 1997, a Northern Wheatear was found along Armstrong Road and remained there for a couple of days, to the enjoyment of many birders.


Locations index

BEARBROOK AREA
Ont — page 67, Q65 &R65
[Google map]

The Bearbrook area is bordered by Russell Road (Route 26), Milton Road (Route 85), and Perrault/McFadden, and Frank Kenny roads.

From Ottawa, travel east on Highway 417 to Boundary Road (exit #96). Turn left (north) toward Carlsbad Springs. At the "T" junction of Boundary Road and Russell Road (Route 26), turn right (east) onto Russell and proceed for approximately 3 km to Milton Road (Route 85). Turn left onto Milton and from there, it is just a matter of completing the square turning right (east) on Perrault Road with a short left and then a right turn at Trim Road which is at the end of Perrault and the beginning of McFadden Roads. Follow McFadden to Frank Kenny, then right (south) back to Russell Road (Route 26).

Sandhill Cranes off Milton Road
Sandhill Cranes off Milton Road (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: During spring migration and when fields along Milton and Frank Kenny roads are flooded — Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and the occasional White-fronted Goose along with a variety of ducks. Geese can be seen in the field anywhere along the square. Snowy and Short-eared Owls frequent this area also.

Continue on Milton, rather than turning east on Perrault to complete the square. Between Perrault Road and for approximately 2 km to Smith Road on the left (west) and also along Smith Road, there is a chance of seeing Sandhill Cranes. This is area of Mer Bleue Bog where they are known to nest and are seen anywhere from the distant edge of the bog to the near fence lines.


Locations index

BOURGET AREA AND COBBS LAKE CREEK
Ont — page 67, Q67
[Google map]

From Ottawa, travel east on Highway 417 to Boundary Road (exit #96) and turn left (north) toward Carlsbad Springs. At the "T" junction of Boundary Road and Russell Road (Route 26), turn right (east) on Russell and continue until you come to Bourget (approximately 25 km). In Bourget, there is a 4-way stop sign. Go straight and, a couple of km further along, the road goes through a spring flood plain; this is the Cobbs Lake Creek area.

Birds: During spring migration and when Cobb Lake Creek area is flooded — Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and the occasional White-fronted Goose along with a variety of ducks. Geese usually arrive there a few days later than at Bearbrook and leave a bit later.

Snow Geese
Snow Geese (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

CASSELMAN and HIGH FALLS CONSERVATION AREA
Ont — page 67, R67
[Google map]

Take Highway 417 east from Ottawa for about 60 km, exiting at Casselman (exit #66). Turn left (north) and take the main road through town crossing over the South Nation River. Turn right on Rivière Nation Nord Road.

Birds: A variety of shorebirds mainly concentrated below the spillway.


Ruddy Turnstone (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

DOLMAN RIDGE, ANDERSON & RIDGE ROADS (MER BLEUE)
Ott/Hull — RST 37, 38, & U38, 39, 40
Ont — page 66, Q64
[Google map]

DOLMAN RIDGE
From Ottawa, go east on Highway 417 past the Highway 174/417 "split" (Highway 174 was previously 17), exiting at Innes Road (exit #122). Proceed east on Innes Road to the lights at Anderson Road. Turn right (south) on Anderson (Highway 27) and about 3 km up the road, look for Dolman Ridge Road on your left. Turn left (east) on Dolman Ridge Road and go approximately 1 km to a parking lot on the right. The OFNC maintains a bird feeder in this area, and there is a nice network of NCC trails from here.

ANDERSON ROAD TRAILS
Continuing south along Anderson Road for about half a km will bring you to the Anderson Road Trails on your right. These are also part of the NCC network of trails covering a variety of habitats.

RIDGE ROAD &MER BLEUE
Continuing south along Anderson for another 1.5 km will bring you to Ridge Road. Turn left onto Ridge Road and proceed right to the end where you'll find the parking lot for the Mer Bleue boardwalk as well as for the NCC trial that goes west along the Mer Bleue Ridge through deciduous and coniferous woods.

Birds: Most of our woodland birds can be found in these 3 areas, including Barred Owls and at least 4 species of woodpeckers. Along the north side of Ridge Road, Clay-coloured Sparrows can be heard. In 1999, a Henslow's Sparrow, which is rare for the area, could be seen in a field along Ridge Road.

At Mer Bleue, Lincoln Sparrows breed and, along the boardwalk, if you are lucky you will hear and maybe see a Virginia Rail or American Bittern. Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Tree and Barn Swallows, Blue Jays, and Thrushes are all common sights.


Common Yellowthroat (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Barred Owl (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

PETRIE ISLAND
Ont — page 66, P64
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 east to 174/17, and continue east on Highway 174/17 past Orleans. Turn left (north) at Trimm Road (Route 57) and follow to the end.

Birds: The causeway passes by a marshy area good for nesting birds such as American Bitterns, Black Terns, Common Moorhens, Wood Ducks, etc. Continuing on, the woods are good for all sorts of warblers and the sand dunes for Bank Swallows and Kingfishers.

There's a picnic area at the end, with water on both sides.


American Bittern (photo by Bill Bowman)


Locations index

WALL ROAD
Ott/Hull — S45 to 48
Ont — page 66, Q64 & page 67, Q65
[Google map]


Snowy Owl (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 east to 174 (previously 17) and continue east on Highway 174 to Orleans. In Orleans turn right (south) on Mer Bleue Road. Wall Road is approximately 6 km south of Highway 174. Turn left onto Wall Road. This road crosses 10th Line, Trim and ends at Frank Kenny Road.

Birds: Between 10th Line and Trim Road look for Short-eared Owls. Great Horned Owls have been seen near Trim and Wall roads. In the winter, Snowy and Northern Hawk Owls have been seen in this area. Anywhere along these roads is good for a variety of raptors.


Locations index

West of Ottawa Core

HUNTMAR DRIVE
Ott/Hull — G5 (off map)
Ont — page 66, R60, 61
[Google map]

From Ottawa, travel west on Highway 417, exiting at Palladium Drive (exit #142) which is also the exit for the Corel Centre. Keep to the right until you come to Huntmar Drive. Turn left (north) onto Huntmar continuing approximately 4 km to the bridge that crosses the Carp River. Park along the side of the road. Birding in any direction from there is good.

Birds: Northern Rough-winged Swallows nest at the bridge. Blue-winged Warblers are occasionally found here, as well as Alder and Willow Flycatchers. This is also a consistently good location for the Black-billed Cuckoo. Golden-winged Warblers and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers have been seen in the spring in recent years. Other birds found here are American Bittern, Green Heron, Marsh Wren, Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Baltimore Oriole, to name a few.


Great-crested Flycatcher (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

MORRIS ISLAND
Ont — page 83, Q58
[Google map]


Osprey on nest with young (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 west and exit at Kinburn Side Road. Turn right on Kinburn, left on old Highway 17, then right onto the Galetta Side Road. After passing through the village of Galetta, turn left onto Logger's Way (a large sign says "Vydon Acres"). Follow this road through Vydon Acres and turn right onto Morris Island Drive. Cross the railway tracks and turn right again at the Morris Island Conservation Area sign. There's a parking lot about 400 metres down that road.

Birds: Nesting Ospreys and Red-shouldered Hawks; a good location to observe Common Terns on the Ottawa River in late spring. A good variety of songbirds in spring and fall (including both northern and southern species, due to the unique habitat in this beautiful area along the Ottawa River).


Locations index

MORRISON ISLAND
Ont — page 82, L52
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 417/17 north to the first Pembroke exit. Follow this road to the turn off to Highway 148 to Quebec, which is on the right. Follow Highway 148 to the river. You will see open rapids between Morrison and Allumettes Islands.

Birds: Ducks can be found below or above the bridge. A wintering Harlequin Duck has been there for a number of years. Barrow's Goldeneyes and Bald Eagles are quite often present in the winter also.


Wood Duck (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Locations index

MUNSTER AREA & RICHMOND FEN
Ont — page 66, T61 & U61
[Google map]

Take Highway 417 west from Ottawa to Highway 416 (exit #132), then go south on Highway 416 to Fallowfield Road (exit #66). Proceed west along Fallowfield for approximately 13 km to the intersection of Conley Road. This is in a rural area. Turn left (south) onto Conley Road and take Bleeks, Copeland, or Franktown roads right (west) off Conley.

Birds: All of these roads intersect with Munster Road (Regional Road 45) and are a great area to search for Barred and Great Horned Owls, as well as marsh birds in the spring.

The pasture land on Franktown Road just west of Conley Road to Munster Road is a traditional Upland Sandpiper site.


Bay-breasted Sandpiper (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Virginia Rail (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Richmond Fen may be found by taking Munster Road farther south past Franktown Road until it ends at Kettles Road. Turning left (east) on Kettles will bring you to a dead end near railway tracks. The fen can be found by walking approximately 1 km northeast along the tracks until you pass the wooded areas and reach an open area of fen/bog habitat bordered by an alder swamp on the south side of the tracks.

Birds: Yellow Rails have occurred consistently here, and the area is also good for Sedge Wrens, Least Bitterns, and other species.


Locations index

RICHMOND AREA
Ont — page 66, S61, 62
[Google map]

These directions are not to a specific location but a loop through a Snowy Owl area. This route includes the roads where sightings are most common. Just roam, but remember some of these roads are rather narrow, even though they look wider when plowed; so be very careful of the false shoulders.

From Ottawa, travel west on Highway 417 to the junction of Highway 416 (exit #132). Go south on Highway 416 to Fallowfield Road (exit #66). Turn right (west) at Fallowfield Road and go to the lights at Moodie Drive. Turn left at Moodie Drive and proceed south for approximately 6 km, then turn right onto Barnsdale. This is the beginning of the tour. Continue along Barnsdale to the junction of Twin Elms; do a quick left-right turn to continue along Barnsdale. At the junction of Barnsdale and Eagleson Road, turn right (north), crossing Richmond Road at the lights, and continue for about another 2 km to Brownlee. Turn left (west) on Brownlee, then right (north) at Shea. If you wish, you can follow Shea to its end or turn right (east) at Akins and go back to Eagleson Road. At Eagleson Road, turn right (south), then left on Rushmore (about half a km or so) which will bring you to Richmond Road. Turn left (north) on Richmond Road and at the first set of lights, turn right (east) onto Fallowfield Road which will bring you back to exit #66 of Highway 416.

Birds: Snowy Owls, Hawks, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs.


Horned Larks (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Snow Bunting (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

KERWIN / RIDDELL ROAD TRAILS
Ont — page 66, Q60, 61, & R 60, 61
[Google map]

West Entrance Travel west from Ottawa on Highway 417, exiting at Eagleson/March Road (exit #138). Keep right and follow the March Road signs. Continue up March Road through "Silicon Valley North," past the flashing light at South March, to the next traffic light which is Dunrobin Road. Turn right, and go approximately 1 km to the McEwen Gas Station on your right. Just past the gas station, turn right onto Kerwin Road (Formerly River Road). The Kerwin/Riddell Trail is on the right (east) and begins immediately opposite the residence at 881 River Road. This is approximately 1.5 km from Dunrobin Road.

East Entrance About 200 metres after you turn onto the Dunrobin Road, at the YWCA–YMCA Camp sign, Riddell Road will be on the right. Continue down Riddell for approximately 1.5 km to the 4th Line Road on your right. Directly opposite 4th Line Road is March Rural Trail, which is the Riddell/Kerwin Road Trail.

Caution: There is a lot of Poison Ivy along this trail, so be careful. The west entrance from Kerwin Road is the preferred route.


Pileated Woodpecker (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Three-toed Woodpecker (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

SHIRLEY'S BAY
Ont — page 66, R61
Ott/Hull — H13
[Google map]

Travel west from Ottawa along Highway 417, exit at Moodie Drive (exit #134), and go north to Carling Avenue. Turn left and follow Carling for approximately 3 km, then turn right onto Rifle Road. Drive north to the parking lot and boat launch at the end of Rifle Road.

VERY IMPORTANT

Shirley's Bay dyke is on Department of National Defence property, and there is often shooting going on at the Connaught Firing Range. Permission to walk on the dyke must be obtained by contacting the Range Control Office at (613) 991-5740. Please do not enter the area without permission, and please abide by Range Control's rules about whether walking on the dyke is allowed.  If you are given permission to go out on the dyke, please stay on the pathway and do not venture off the path onto the Haycock or Chartrand Islands as there is no trespassing on these islands. (It is usually okay to birdwatch from the gate at the base of the dyke. If you fail to comply with DND instructions, you will be responsible for denying all birders access to this great birding area and, at the same time, you will be putting yourself in danger. So please comply.


Dyke at Shirley's Bay (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: Waterfowl in the bay, shorebirds and waterfowl inside the dyke and, during spring and fall migration, lots of warblers, vireos, etc. in the woods.


Warbling Vireo (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Blackburnian Warbler (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

THOMAS A. DOLAN PARKWAY
Ont — page 65, Q60
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 west to the Eagleson/March Road exit (#138). Turn right onto March Road and continue through Kanata and the village of South March. When you come to the Dunrobin Road, turn right at the lights and proceed to the village of Dunrobin, where the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway intersects with Dunrobin Road. Turning RIGHT on the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway leads to the huge Constance Creek wetland complex. Turning LEFT takes you along the Carp Ridge.

Birds:

CONSTANCE CREEK WETLAND: Marsh birds; also nesting Northern Goshawks. Proceeding farther along takes you to 5th Line/Greenland Road. Turn left on Greenland Road to an excellent vantage point for observing hawk migration in the spring.

CARP RIDGE: A hot-spot for Black-billed Cuckoos, Golden-winged Warblers and Eastern Towhees in spring.


Black-crowned Night Heron (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

CAUTION: The shoulders of the road are narrow and oncoming traffic is difficult to see along this portion of the Parkway. Please exercise caution when pulling off the road to search for birds.


Locations index

North of Ottawa Core

OTTAWA RIVER FROM THE QUEBEC SIDE
(Parc Brébeuf to the Deschênes Marina)

Ott/Hull — K19-21 & J21-26
Que — page 14, Q62 & R62
[Google map]

From Highway 417:

*NOTE: The map in the Ottawa–Hull Guide calls Boul. de Lucerne "Rue Brunet" east of the bridge, but the street sign at this intersection actually says Boul. de Lucerne.

The Voyageur Trail East (towards Hull)

At the north end of the Champlain Bridge, you can park along the road and use a recreational pathway known as the Sentier des Voyageurs (The Voyageur Trail), to view various portions of the Remic Rapids on the Ottawa River.

Birds: Over the years, this has been a good area for overwintering diving ducks (e.g., Harlequins, Long-tailed Ducks, Common and Barrow's Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, etc.). Usually, at least one of these species is present. You can also walk this pathway, searching for land birds (migrants), and enjoy an excellent view of the Ottawa River.

Proceed east on Lucerne, turn right (north) onto Rue Begin, which leads directly to Parc Brébeuf (a statue of Father Brébeuf is obvious at the end of this short street). Park in designated areas along the street.

Birds: This location is good for the aforementioned waterfowl, as well as gulls in the autumn months. Walking east along the trail can be good for viewing migrant songbirds in spring and fall.

In August 1998, a Little Blue Heron was spotted here.

The Voyageur Trail West (toward Aylmer)

From the west side of the Champlain Bridge, the pathway continues for approximately 8 km to the Lac Deschênes Marina in Aylmer.


Female Mergansers (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: Any point from which you can view the Ottawa River has proven to be good for waterfowl, especially in the fall when large numbers of diving ducks gather (often closer to the Quebec side than the Ontario side). During the appropriate seasons, the wooded areas along the trail can be good for land birds. A White-eyed Vireo was seen in this area in October 1998.

The best viewing of overwintering ducks and gulls (in the early spring) is along the ice edge at the Deschênes Rapids. To get to the rapids, after crossing Champlain Bridge, turn left (west) and proceed along Lucerne to Chemin Vanier. Turn left (south) on Vanier and continue to the end of the road. There is public parking at this point, and an excellent view of the rapids.


Locations index

EARDLEY-MASHAM ROAD & STEELE LINE
Que — page 14, P59 & N59, 58
For Steele Road
Use the map for an overview only. Rely on road names given in the directions, below.

[Google map]

From Hwy 417:

In both cases follow Island Park Drive north to the Champlain Bridge across the Ottawa River. Turn left (west) at the first traffic lights, onto Lucerne Blvd (Lower Aylmer Road) and proceed west for approximately 7 km to Frank Robinson. Turn right (north) on Frank Robinson, then left (west) at lights on Principale. At the next lights, turn right  (north) onto Parc. Keep left and within a 100 metres, the road becomes Eardley which is Highway 148. Keep following Highway 148, going through Luskville and after the end of the dual highway, it is aproximately 6.5km further on to the Eardley–Masham Road. Look for the big green sign saying  Ste Cécile de Masham to the right. This is the Eardley–Masham Road. Another landmark at this intersection is a resturant on the northeast corner as well as a depanneur on the southwest corner. Turn right (north) onto Eardley–Masham Road.

EARDLEY–MASHAM ROAD goes north into the Gatineau Hills, cutting through the western end of Gatineau Park and ending at Chemin du Lac Lapêche.

Good roadway (gravel) and a few walking/cross-country ski trails through forested uplands (mixed coniferous/deciduous). Small parking areas at La Pêche (opposite Ramsay Lake).

Birds:

WINTER: Bald and Golden Eagles possible (Bradley Road and Eardley–Masham intersection is a favourite spot for looking for eagles). Also, "winter finches," Golden-crowned Kinglets, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Pileated and Hairy Woodpeckers. Gray Jays have been found here in the past.

SPRING & SUMMER: Breeding warblers: Yellow-throated, Vireo, etc.


Bald Eagle (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

STEELE ROAD (also known as Steele Line): Follow the Eardley–Masham Road north for approximately 1.3 km (after turning north off the 148), then turn left (west) onto Bradley. (At one time, this road was called Chemin Brady-Therien.) Going west, you will come to a point where the road jogs south; just past the jog,  turn west onto 6 Concession. At the end of 6 Concession (T-intersection), turn right (north) onto Wilson Road (no road sign). At the end of Wilson, turn left (west) onto Steele Road. This road runs along the southern face of the Eardley Escarpment (Gatineau Hills) for approximately 15 km, ending at a T intersection. Turn left (south) onto Lac des Loups Road (no road sign at the intersection), which will take you back to Highway 148 at Quyon.

Good roadway but can be snow-drifted in winter, and trying to park can be tricky as roadside ditches can be hidden under the snow. No walking trails; birding can only be done from the road.

Please do not park near farmers' laneways, as this makes it difficult for them to get in and out with their equipment.


Red-tailed Hawk (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

Birds: WINTER: On clear calm days in late January through February, from Bradley to the end of Steele Road is an excellent area  for spotting both Bald and Golden Eagles. Ravens are very common in the area also. Early March, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Goshawks and other raptors may also be seen soaring over the escarpment. The large deer yards in the Gatineau as well as rodents in the surrounding agricultural areas attract these birds.


Locations index

South of Ottawa Core

CHAFFEY'S LOCKS
Ont — page 48 & 49, Z57, 58
Ont — page 36 & 37, A57, 58
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 417 west to Highway 7 (exit #145). Follow Highway 7 to Carleton Place and turn left (south) onto Highway 15. Continue through Franktown and Smiths Falls to Crosby. About 2 km past the turnoff to Crosby, turn right on Chaffey's Locks Road (Highway 9). This will become the Opinicon Road.

From Highway 401, take Highway 10 (exit #617) north to the community of Raymonds Corners. Just past Raymonds Corners look for the Opinicon Road on your right. Follow this road to Chaffey's Locks.

Birds: Along Opinicon Road to the locks, Cuckoos, Gnatcatchers, Yellow-throated Vireos, Golden-winged Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, Eastern Towhees, to name a few.


Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)


Locations index

COOPER MARSH
Ont — page 52, T72
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 31 south to Highway 401. Take 401 east to exit #814, then travel south to Route 2 at Lancaster and west a short distance to the marsh on your left.

For a more scenic route, continue along Highway 31 south to Morrisburg. At the junction of Highways 31 and 2, turn left (east). Cooper's Marsh is on the right side of the road between Summerstown and Lancaster.


Great Egret (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)
Birds: Nesting Rails, Herons, Marsh Wrens, Black Terns, Northern Shovelers, Common Mergansers, Least Bitterns. Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons are also found there. In May 1996, a Tri-colored Heron was seen in the marsh.

Locations index

UPPER CANADA MIGRATORY BIRD SANCTUARY
Ont — page 51, V68
[Google map]

From Ottawa, take Highway 31 south to Morrisburg. At the junction of Highways 31 and 2, turn left (east). The sanctuary is on the right side of the road between Riverside Heights and Ingleside.

It can also be reached via Highway 401 (exit #758).

Birds: Great in early spring and late fall for waterfowl, waterfowl, and MORE WATERFOWL.


Canada Goose with goslings (photo by Gillian Mastromatteo)

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© The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
This page was revised on 8 January 2013
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