NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Favourite Outlying Sites
ÎLE MORRISON (MORRISON ISLAND)
Spring: ** Summer: * Fall: *** Winter: **
Independent Directions to this Site: Île Morrison (Morrison Island) is about 2 hours northwest of Ottawa by car. Take Highway 417 west, then continue west as it becomes Highway 17. Drive 133 kilometres from Ottawa to the Regional Road 40 turnoff, the first Pembroke exit. Turn right and continue north onto Regional Road 40, which becomes Greenwood Road, and drive 7.5 km to Highway 148. Turn right or east onto 148 and proceed 3.6 km to park just beyond the third bridge. Walk back to the rapids between Île Morrison (to the southwest) and Île des Allumettes (Allumettes Island) to the northeast.
Ottawa to Île Morrison (Morrison Island) Route Map (Google Maps)
Site Description and Birding Information: The rapids of the Ottawa River between Île Morrison (Morrison Island) and the adjacent Île des Allumettes (Allumettes Island), just east of Pembroke, are a favourite spot for birders to check for late fall and winter waterfowl. The first smaller bridge you reach is in Ontario. The middle of the second bridge, crossing to Île Morrison, is the provincial boundary. This means the island/peninsula to the south and west of Île Morrison is in Ontario, while Île Morrison and Île des Allumettes, reached by crossing the third bridge, are both in Quebec.
The rapids remain open year round allowing waterfowl to stay all winter. Common Goldeneye and Common Merganser are the most common regulars. The main area of interest is upriver or NW of the Île Morrison - Île des Allumettes bridge and requires a scope to do it justice. This section is entirely within Quebec. Don't forget to check the channel between Île Morrison and Ontario, at the south of the island. The provincial boundary go up this channel, so provincial listers should be careful to determine in which province they see the bird. (Ideally in both, as it crosses the channel.) It is the chance of finding something unusual that attracts most birders here in winter. Barrow's Goldeneye and Harlequin Duck are both seen here most years recently, often staying the winter (see below). Other less rare birds also show up here, such as Bufflehead and Wood Duck. And you never know what might stop by for a visit.
Google Satellite Image Map of the Île Morrison (Morrison Island) Area
Rare birds reported from Île Morrison include Harelquin Duck (regular in winter since 1994) and Barrow's Goldeneye (regular in winter since the 1970s). In 2007, a male Harlequin Duck arrived on Oct. 27.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 25, 2009