ST. ALBERT 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 (The Queensway), 39 km east of Ottawa, take exit 79 (County Road 5), labelled Limoges / Embrun. Proceed 10.0 km SSE on County Road 5 to the 90 degree left turn to the ENE toward St. Albert. Continue on County Road 5 another 2.2 km to the Crysler turnoff, where County Road 5 turns SSE. Continue ENE on County Road 7 watching for the sign for the sewage lagoons, on the south, opposite house number 1664. This is the main entrance to the St. Albert Sewage Lagoons.
Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route Route Directions: From the Embrun Sewage Lagoons return via Route 400 to St.-Joseph Road and turn right or northeast on it. Proceed 1.5 km to Notre Dame Street or County Road 3. Turn right or ENE on County Road 3 and drive 2.8 km to County Road 5. Turn right or SSE onto it and go 6.6 km to the 90 degree left turn to the ENE toward St. Albert. Continue on County Road 5 another 2.2 km to the Crysler turnoff, where County Road 5 turns SSE. Continue ENE on County Road 7 watching for the sign for the sewage lagoons, on the south, opposite house number 1664. This is the main entrance to the St. Albert Sewage Lagoons.
Google Satellite Map of St. Albert Sewage Lagoons Area
Site Description and Birding Information: This is quickly becoming one of the best known sewage lagoon sites in our area. It is just inside the Ottawa checklist circle. Park so that the road is not blocked. There is usually good shorebird habitat in at least one of the seven cells.
There is a second approach to these lagoons, giving easier access to the ponds fartherest from the main entrance. From the main entrance, return WSW along County Road 7 until you reach the turn off to County Road 5. Turn left or SSE and go 1.6 km along County Road 5 to the Finch-Cambridge Boundary Road (near 1521 County Road 5). Turn left onto this dirt road until you get to the lagoon gate, c. 1.3 km.
Uncommon species seen at these lagoons include Lesser Golden Plover (320 on Oct. 18, 2003, 200+ on Oct. 5, 2006), Baird's Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit (May 28-29, 2009), Red Knot, Red-necked Phalarope (July 29, 2006) and Whimbrel (Sept. 11 - 14, 2003). 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. A rare summer record of Long-billed Dowitcher occurred Jul. 26-27, 2009.
Watch also for migrating swallows, waterfowl and gulls. Canvasback has been seen here. The surrounding area may host a number of raptors, including Northern Harrier, Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks and Snowy Owl in season. Watch for Lapland Longspurs in October, a flock of 69 was seen here on Oct.18, 2008. Breeding birds include Sora. Rare birds seen here include: Black-legged Kittiwake (juv. Aug. 9, 2008).
St. Albert Sewage Lagoons
Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route Route Directions: From the main St. Albert Sewage Lagoons entrance, continue ENE along County Road 7 for c. 8 km to where the road makes a 90 degree left and continues as County Road 7 going NNW. Follow it NNW for an additional 4.6 km, passing under Highway 417 and proceeding on into Casselman where County Road 7 becomes Rue Principale. After crossing the railway tracks and the main cross-street (St. Isidore), 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 next site on the route, the Casselman Sewage Lagoons, is on your right almost immediately.
Return to Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route.
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