NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southeast - South Gower / Mountain Loop
WINCHESTER 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.
Views of Winchester Sewage Lagoons
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 96 (Boundary Road). Proceed 20.0 km SSE on Boundary Road (Regional 41) to Marionville Road at Marionville. Turn right or WSW onto Marionville Road and drive 1.2 km to Bisson Road. Turn left or SSE onto it and go 1.5 km to Ormond Road. Turn right or WSW onto it and proceed 5.7 km to Regional 31 at Harmony. Turn left or SSE onto Regional 31 and drive 5.2 km to Liscumb Road. Turn left or ENE onto Liscumb and proceed 2.3 km to the corner where Ottawa Street (County 3) joins on your right. Continue straight ENE along Liscumb Road, now also County 3, and in just less than a kilometre you will see the entrance to the lagoons on the right.
South Gower / Mountain Loop Directions: From the West End of Harmony Road return 2.1 km northeast to Highway 31. Turn left onto 31 to continue northeast, then southeast on it for 6.5 km to Licumbe Road. Turn left or ENE onto it and drive 2.3 km to the corner where Ottawa Street (County 3) joins on your right. Continue straight ENE along Liscumb Road, now also County 3, and in just less than a kilometre you will see the entrance, on the right or SSE, to the Winchester Sewage Lagoons.
Map of Winchester Lagoons area
Site Description and Birding Information: This lagoon complex has been productive over the years, especially for shorebirds. All the regular species of shorebirds which pass through the Ottawa area have been seen here. The surrounding countryside is largely pastureland for dairy cattle.
Bonaparte's Gulls in Winter Plumage
Uncommon species are sometimes seen, including Lesser Golden Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, Baird's Sandpiper, and Red-necked and Red Phalarope. A rare Western Sandpiper was seen here on Aug. 22, 1990. Keep a eye out for flight activity by the shorebird flocks, indicating that they may have spotted a threat. Such threats may be a predator, rarely a Peregrine Falcon. Watch also for migrating swallows, waterfowl, gulls and American Pipits. In the mid-October to mid-November timeframe over the last few years, there have been unusually large concentrations (up to 100+ in mid-October 2002) of Bonaparte's Gulls at the lagoons. Snowy Owl has been seen in late fall - early winter in the area. Rarities include Ross' Goose (Oct. 30, 1999) and American Avocet (Sept. 28, 2003).
American Avocet - Winchester Lagoons - Sep. 28, 2003
South Gower / Mountain Loop Directions: From the Winchester Sewage Lagoons entrance at Liscumb Road (County 3 here) return WSW the less than one kilometre to Ottawa Street. Continue on County 3 here by taking the lefthand turn to the SSE and drive 1.4 km to the junction of Boyne Road or Main Street East. Turn right or southwest continuing on County 3 or Main Street East through Winchester for 0.3 km to County 38 or St. Lawrence Street. Turn left or SSE onto 38, go 2.3 km to Highway 31. Turn left or SE onto 31 and proceed 1.8 km to Baker Road. Turn right or WSW onto Baker and go 1.8 km, where it becomes Guy Road. Guy Road turns into Cameron Road a further 4.2 km WSW at Inkerman. This is the next site on this route, the Guy-Cameron Roads.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 28, 2009