NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Marlborough Forest Loop
RICHMOND FEN FROM THE NORTH
Spring: **** Summer: *** Fall: ** Winter:*
Warning: The Richmond Fen is accessible via the railroad tracks, and these tracks have recently been posted with warning signs. The railway right-of-way is private property, and the train is fast, quiet and deadly. That being said, authorities seem to take a benign view of birders visiting the fen. At this site, you might want to park well away from the rail crossing, however, or you may find yourself followed by a curious police officer looking for trouble-makers. The Richmond Fen via Kettles Road access (somewhat less walking distance) is much less likely to attract such attention and is the most frequently used way into the fen. A third alternative, though not for everyone, is the Richmond Fen via Joy's Road canoe-only access route. This may allow access without infringing on the railway property, depending on beaver dams and the like.
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 416 take exit 66 (Fallowfield Road). If southbound, a 0.4 km offramp dumps onto Fallowfield, where you will turn right or west. If northbound, the 0.4 km offramp brings you to Fallowfield, where you will turn left or west onto it and in 0.5 km join the southbound offramp traffic. Both groups will now follow Fallowfield Road west 4.5 km from here, passing Moodie Drive and Richmond Road to reach Eagleson Road. Turn left or southeast onto Eagleson Road and drive 7.0 km to Ottawa Street. Turn right or southwest onto it and go 1.2 km to McBean Street. Turn left or southeast onto it and in 0.2 km you will reach the railway crossing. This is the access point for the Richmond Fen from the North.
Marlborough Forest Loop Route Directions: From the Richmond Lagoons turn right or SSE onto Eagleson Road and drive 0.8 km to Ottawa Street. Turn right or southwest onto it and go 1.2 km to McBean Street. Turn left or southeast onto it and in 0.2 km you will reach the railway crossing. This is the access point for the Richmond Fen from the North.
Map of the Richmond Fen Area
Site Description and Birding Information: It is 7.8 km along the tracks to the entrance of the Richmond Fen via Kettles Road site to the southwest. The Fen itself is near the centre, though slightly farther from this end, hence around 8.8 km return. Make sure you have water and a light.
The Long Walk into the Fen
Jock River Provides 3 Scenic Views En Route
The Richmond Fen is a "must" pilgrimage for birders in the Ottawa area. It is a unique and significant wetland and is home to the only known breeding colony of Yellow Rail in our area. The hike, along the tracks, into the fen is around 4.4 km. It passes through mainly deciduous woods with good visibility from the rail bed and touches briefly on the Jock River in three places. Not far after the third river view, where you would reach the tracks from Joy's Road by canoe, the woodlands open into the fen. A bit farther along, between the 15 and 15.25 markers, is the heart of the fen, where Yellow Rails (up to 10 ticking in exceptional years) and Sedge Wrens (up to 30 singing in exceptional years) hold forth in May and June. Walking in by daylight, staying until after dark, then walking out is one strategy. Another is to walk in the early morning darkness, then walk out catching the dawn chorus. Big Day listers often walk in before midnight, tick off the night birds and rush out and off to their next site.
American and Least Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Alder Flycatcher, Black-billed Cuckoo, Northern Harrier and Mourning Warbler (on the way in) are breeders. Owls are often heard on route. Rarities that have shown up here include: Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Jun. 12, 1993).
View of the Richmond Fen
Marlborough Forest Loop Route Directions: From the access point to the Richmond Fen from the North, the railway crossing on McBean Street, continue southeast 1.4 km on McBean to Dobson Lane. Turn right or southwest into the next site in this loop, Dobson Lane.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 27, 2009