NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Rideau River West Side
CENTRAL EXPERIMENTAL FARM
Spring: ** Summer: ** Fall: *** Winter: ***
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 121A to Bronson Avenue. Avoid doing this during rushhour! Proceed SSE on Bronson 0.4 km to Carling Avenue and turn right or southwest onto it. Proceed 0.6 km to Preston Street and turn left or south onto it. Drive 0.1 km to the T-junction and turn right or southwest onto Prince of Wales Drive. Go 1.4 km (0.8 km past the traffic circle) to a road on the right. Turn right or west into this road and enter the cropland portion of the Central Experimental Farm.
Rideau River West Side Route Directions: From the Fletcher Wildlife Garden road, return to Prince of Wales Drive. Turn left or south onto it and go 0.4 km to a road on the right. Turn right or west onto this road and enter the cropland portion of the Central Experimental Farm.
Map of the Central Experimental Farm area
Site Description and Birding Information: The "the farm", as the Central Experimental Farm is fondly known, consists of about 5 square kilometres of farmland in the middle of the city. It is crossed by several paved roads, though some of these are closed to vehicular traffic, and many farm lanes of varying condition. This unique habitat attracts many open field birds.
In July through September, upland shorebirds such as Black-bellied Plover and the occasional Lesser Golden Plover (12 on Sep. 23, 1990) occur. Buff-breasted Sandpiper is a remote possibility (one occurred Aug. 23, 1977). In winter, raptors take advantage of the area for hunting. Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel are usually there and, for spice, the odd Peregrine Falcon or Gyrfalcon passes through. A flock or two of Gray Partridge survived here for many years as the city grow around them and isolated them. A Gyrfalcon hung out here one winter and nearly wiped them out. More recently, a Gyrfalcon was seen here on Feb. 21, 2006. Check the fields in winter for Horned Lark and sometimes Lapland Longspur.
The famous manure pile at the south end of Ash Lane has been the site of many shorebird and sparrow reports over the years. Birds like Song and White-crowned Sparrow and Lapland Longspur have wintered here (or tried). Red Fox can be found here too. On the farm's western extension, along McCooey Lane, there is a small building surrounded by conifers, a favorite roost for owls.
The area north of the Driveway and south of Carling Avenue has had breeding Northern Mockingbird (1994).
Aerial Views of Central Experimental Farm
Rideau River West Side Route Directions: From the Central Experimental Farm area, return to Prince of Wales Drive. Turn right or SSW onto it and go 3.0 km to a small parking area on the left for the next site on this route, the Moffatt Farm.
Return to Rideau River West Side.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 29, 2009