NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southeast - Larose Forest Loop
CASSELMAN SEWAGE LAGOONS
Spring: *** Summer: **** Fall: **** Winter: *
Warning: Sewage lagoons generally do not welcome visitors. Liability insurance is behind much of their reluctance. In the past, they have often made an exception for birders. For some lagoons, the OFNC and/or independent birdwatchers have arranged special access with the operators or wardens. Contact the OFNC to find the current arrangements, if any. Some lagoons are partly visible without crossing the fences, though because of the brem construction, many are not visible from the road. Lagoons are generally not heavily patrolled or impassibly fenced, and when trespassers are unwelcome they are usually just asked to leave; so many birders assume the "No Tresspassing" signs are for someone else (especially given past tolerance). Once in a while, especially in hunting season, hunters make the same assumption. They are less welcome than birders though and are often reported by the locals. After one of these incidents, patrols may be more frequent. The rules seem to change as often as the folks assigned to enforce them; some are more tolerant than others (some are downright helpful). Use courtesy and common sense. And when you park near a sewage lagoon, please don't block the access roads. Even without crossing the fences, a patient and competent birder can see many species as they fly into and out of the lagoons.
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417, 52 km east of Ottawa, take the Casselman exit (66) and go NNW toward the town of Casselman. Drive 1.1 km NNW into town on Rue Principale, crossing the railway tracks and the main cross-street (St. Isidore), to turn right or northeast just beyond onto Laurier. Follow Laurier northeast, then north, 1.8 km to Concession 5 Road (or Route 500). Turn right or northeast onto it and the road into the Casselman Sewage Lagoons is on your right almost immediately.
Larose Forest Loop Route Directions: From High Falls Conservation Area return along Main Street (Rue Principale) 1.0 km to Laurier Street (Lemieux Road on some maps). Turn left or NNE onto it and go 1.8 km to Concession 5 Road (or Route 500). Turn right or northeast onto it and the road into the Casselman Sewage Lagoons is on your right almost immediately.
Map of Casselman Sewage Lagoons area
Site Description and Birding Information: This is one of the best sewage lagoon sites in our area. Birders are generally tolerated here, but have been asked politely to leave on occasion. Park along the road into the lagoons, but well off to the side so that the road is not blocked and walk around the dykes circling the ponds. Usually there is some shorebird habitat along the edges and it often concentrates the birds. The water often hosts a variety of waterfowl, the large pond size necessitates a scope for those in the center. Be sure to try to keep the sun at your back as much as possible to prevent glare. This area is at the extreme eastern edge of the Ottawa Checklist Circle. In fact, the eastern pond is probably mostly outside the circle (see map).
All the regular species of shorebirds which pass through the Ottawa area have been seen here, Semipalmated (mid-May to early June and mid-July to mid-Oct.), Least (May and July through early Oct.) Sandpiper. Less common species such as White-rumped (late May and Aug. through early Nov. - peaking in Oct.) and Stilt (mid-Jul. through Sep.) Sandpiper are regular here. Uncommon species are sometimes seen, including Baird's, and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope (late May and Aug. through Sep.), Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit (Sep-Oct), Whimbrel and Long-billed Dowithcher (mid-Sep. to mid-Oct.). Keep a eye out for flight activity by the shorebird flocks, indicating that they may have spotted a threat. These threats may be a avian predator, such as a Peregrine Falcon or Bald Eagle, both having been seen here. Watch also for migrating swallows, waterfowl and gulls. Redhead (May and June), Surf and White-winged Scoter (October) are among the less common waterfowl to have been seen here. The surrounding area may host a number of raptors, including Northern Harrier and Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks. Breeding birds include Ruddy Duck, Sora, Virginia Rail and Wilson's Phalarope.
Rarities found here include Spotted Redshank (Jul. 19 to 24, 1990), Little Stint (Jul. 25, 1992), Curlew Sandpiper (May 26, 1996).
Casselman Sewage Lagoons
Larose Forest Loop Directions: From the Casselman Sewage Lagoons turn left or WNW onto Concession 5 Road (or Route 500) and go 0.1 km to the junction of Laurier Street or Lemieux Road to the north. Turn right or north onto Lemieux Road and drive 1.8 km to Route 400E and the next site on this route, Lemieux Road and Route 400E Trail.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 27, 2009