NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Northwest - Ottawa River West: Quebec
Spring: *** Summer: *** Fall: *** Winter: ***
Independent Directions to this Site: From where Autoroute l'Outaouais or Highway 50 crosses over Autoroute de la Gatineau or Highway 5, the two major roads converging on Hull, continue on Hwy 50 south 1.3 km to Rue Montcalm. Turn left or southwest on Montcalm and follow it for 0.8 km to Boulevard Alexandre-Taché. Turn right or west on Taché and go 1.8 km to Rue Bégin. Turn left or south onto Bégin and go 0.4 km to a small parking area at the end of the street at Parc Brébeuf.
Ottawa River West: Quebec Route Directions: From the the bridge at Brewery Creek, your parking spot for the Hull to Val Tetreau site, drive along Rte 148 to the west 1.7 km to Rue Bégin. Turn left or south onto Bégin and go 0.4 km to a small parking area at the end of the street at Parc Brébeuf.
Map of Parc Brébeuf
Site Description and Birding Information: It is not so much the grounds of this small park that are the attraction to birders, but the adjacent Ottawa River. In winter, because of the Little Chaudière Rapids, this area of the river is open except in the most severe years. This is one of the best places to see Barrow's Goldeneye in the Ottawa area. One or two, sometimes several, can often be found shooting the rapids with the Common Goldeneye flock. An occasional Bufflehead is also seen in winter. During several winters a Harlequin Duck has frequented the channel between the park and the small island just offshore. A few puddle ducks hang in there as well. Wintering gulls often retreat to the St. Lawrence River for a few of the coldest weeks in deep winter. Before they leave (roughly November to mid-January) or after they return (c. mid-March) is a good time to scan for Glaucous, Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, all possible here. Perhaps even a Thayer's Gull.
In spring, watch for migrating ducks (and sometimes Brant) on the river and the return of the gulls. Ring-billed Gulls are seen here all spring and summer in good numbers because of the breeding colonies on the islands just downstream. The bike path to the east is excellent for landbird migrants. In early summer, watch for migrating gulls, such as Bonaparte's in late May, and possibly jaegers. Later in summer and in autumn (sometimes even in May), when the river goes down and exposes expanses of rock, the resulting flats can provide a feeding area for a variety of shorebirds. Over the years many different species have been seen there, including Spotted, Semipalmated, Least, Baird's (Aug. 14, 2005), Pectoral, Stilt (Aug. 20, 1993) and Purple (Nov. 13, 1986) Sandpiper; Dunlin; Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plover; Ruddy Turnstone and Red Knot (Sep. 16 & 19, 1991), and Whimbrel (Aug. 30 - 31, 2004). Later in autumn, check the river for grebes and loons and watch the bay to the west for waterfowl. Additionally, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon flybys are possible anytime and Bald Eagle has been seen in very early spring.
Recent rarities include Harlequin Duck (several records over the years), Caspian Tern (June 26, 1987; June 2, 1993; July 1, 2002; June 15, 2005; Jul. 21, 2009), Northern Mockingbird (Nov. 3, 1988), California Gull (Mar. 30, 2004).
The riverside trail along the rapids is the very same as used by the voyageurs, including Champlain, Thompson and La Vérendrye, nearly 400 years ago.
Brébeuf Monument at Parc Brébeuf.
Exposed riverbottom at Parc Brébeuf.
Ottawa River West: Quebec Route Directions: From Parc Brébeuf, return north the 0.4 km on Bégin to Boul. Taché. Turn left or west on Taché and go 0.7 km to Rue St.-Dominique. Turn right or north on St.-Dominique and proceed 0.4 km to Rue Lacasse. Park near this junction on Lacasse at our next site on this route, Taché Gardens Woods.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 30, 2009