NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Favourite Outlying Sites
Spring: ** Summer: *** Fall: *** Winter: ***
Independent Directions to this Site: The Beauharnois Dam, on the southeastern side of the St. Lawrence River southwest of Montreal, is around 145 km as the crow flies east of Ottawa. That translates to about 180 km by car, or a bit over 2 hours driving. Take Highway 417 from Ottawa east 60 km to Highway 138 (exit 58 to Cornwall). Follow Hwy 138 32 km SSE to Cornwall Centre Road. Turn right or WSW on it to continue on 138, go 0.7 km to Brookdale Avenue. Turn left or SSE on it to continue on 138. Follow Brookdale (138) 0.9 km over Highway 401 and take exit 789 east. Follow the 401 east for 39.0 km to the Quebec border where the same road becomes Autoroute 20. Continue northeast on 20 for 13.6 km to Highway 201. Take the ramp (0.5 km) to the right or southeast and go straight onto Highway 201, following it for 8.8 km to Highway 132. Exit 201 to the right and continue right to the southwest 0.1 km to Rue Sauvé, where you can reverse direction by turning left and heading northeast on Highway 132 or Boulevard Hérbert. Follow 132 for 16.2 km to the Beauharnois Dam. (Don't be confused by the name changes from Boulevard Hérbert to Boulevard Edgar-Hébert to Rue St-Laurent along the length of 132.)
Ottawa to the Beauharnois Dam Route Map
Map of the Beauharnois Dam Area
Site Description and Birding Information: This dam, like others of its ilk, attract numbers of gulls and other birds that can use the food stirred up by the churn, the open water in winter and the deeper water behind the dam. In late fall through winter, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls are possible. In late fall and early winter, Lesser Black-backed Gull has been found. Waterfowl gather in the autumn, with large flocks of scaup and Common Goldeneye often present. One or more Barrow's Goldeneye may be present, but you must scan thoroughly (8 were found on Nov, 1, 1986). All this food is bound to attract predators. Peregrine Falcons are seen occasionally at this time, as are Snowy Owls (mostly in November) and sometimes a Northern Shrike.
Google Maps Satellite Image of the Beauharnois Dam and Highway 132
Rarities seen in this locale include: Little Gull (Oct. 25, 1986), Black-legged Kittiwake (Oct. 25, 1986, Dec. 8, 1991, Dec. 3, 1994), Mew Gull (Dec. 7, 1986 - ad., Dec. 3 & 9, 1994), Golden Eagle (Nov. 7, 1987), Northern Gannet (Dec. 5, 1994 - 1, Dec. 10, 1994 - 6, Dec. 15, 1994 - 1), Whooping Crane (one of the newly introduced Florida population gone astray, a flyover of Maple Grove, 2 km east of the dam, May 3, 2005).
Not far north of here at Léry several sightings of Carolina Wrens have taken place on Chemin du Lac (April 16, 2004 at 1028, early June 2004 at 711 and Mar. 20, 2005 two singing birds). This would lead one to believe they are resident here. Also at Léry, there were 3 Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Jan. 1987).
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 26, 2009