NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Northwest - Eardley Escarpment & Gatineau Park Northwest
STEEL LINE ROAD (CHEMIN STEEL LINE)
Spring: ** Summer: ** Fall: ** Winter: ****
Independent Directions to this Site: From Boulevard des Allumettières or Highway 148, take the Chemin Eardley exit in Aylmer. Turn right or northwest onto Chemin Eardley or the continuation of Highway 148 and proceed 28.7 km northwest on Eardley to Chemin Wilson. Turn right or north onto it and go 2.0 km to Steel Line Road (Chemin Steel Line).
Eardley Escarpment & Gatineau Park Northwest Route Directions: From wherever you are along the Ramsay Lake Road, return south to the base of the escarpment and then a further 0.9 km to Chemin Bradley (on the right, about 1.5 km north of Highway 148 or Chemin Eardley). Turn right or west onto Bradley and go 1.0 km to Chemin Kennedy. Turn left onto Kennedy and drive 0.1 km to Concession 6. Turn right or west onto Concession 6 and proceed 2.1 km to Chemin Wilson. Turn right or north onto Wilson and go 1.7 km to the next site on this route, Steel Line Road (Chemin Steel Line).
Google Satellite Image Map of the Steel Line Road (Chemin Steel Line) Area
Site Description and Birding Information: This gravel road skirting the escarpment is another of the premier winter birding areas in the Ottawa Checklist Circle, or the Outaouais Checklist Area. Aside from the looming escarpment, there are mixed woodlands and large areas of farmland. You may wish to drive this road in both directions to maximize opportunities to find eagles.
One of the star attractions here in winter is the excellent chance of seeing both Bald and Golden Eagles soaring above or perched along the escarpment. Keep scanning the sky and use a scope to scan the trees, especially the large pines, along the cliffs. With patience you should be able to find Bald Eagles and with luck a Golden Eagle. Common Ravens are numerous and cause lots of false alarms.
Golden Eagle over Steel Line and Wilson Roads
At the corner of Steel Line and Wilson Roads scan carefully for eagles. The Golden Eagle pictured above flew over this junction. Visibility is good here and you are very close to the escarpment. There is a small pulloff area here and a trail leads into Gatineau Park.
The Escarpment at the Corner of Steel Line and Wilson Roads
The first kilometer or so of Steel Line west of Chemin Wilson winds along the base of the hillside with mixed woods for company. The south side of the road has mixed woods, scrub and fields. Viewing the escarpment here is more difficult because of its proximity. But forest birds can provide rewards. Northern Goshawk has been seen here. Black-billed Cuckoos can be heard, if not seen in summer. And large herds of White-tailed Deer frequent the fields near the escrapment in winter. The deer herds are a major reason for the increasing eagle population in the area, especially in winter.
Mixed Woodland along Eastern Steel Line Road
White-tailed Deer along the Escarpment
You will come to a power line crossing the road 1.6 km west of Chemin Wilson. Watch for birds of prey perched on the pylons. From here you will diverge from the escrapment and soon parallel it at a distance of 400 to 600 meters. You will be driving through farm fields to the jog in Steel Line 5.4 km west of Wilson and thence to the junction of Chemin des Lac-des-Loups (Wolf Lake Road), 8.7 km from Wilson. Throughout this section of Steel Line soaring birds will be easier to spot, but perched birds will usually require a spotting scope. Check out the fields in winter for Snow Buntings, often in large flocks west of the jog.
Escarpment and Fields from Steel Line near Jog
Eardley Escarpment & Gatineau Park Northwest Route Directions: From the junction of (Chemin) Steel Line Road with Chemin Lac-des-Loups (Wolf Lake Road), turn right or north on Lac-des-Loups and go ? km to the next site on this route, ???.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: December 17, 2009