NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Rideau River West Side
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 0.6 km to the traffic circle and drive three-quarters the way around it to the entrance (on your right, to the ENE) of The Arboretum of the Central Experimental Farm.
Rideau River West Side Route Directions: From University Avenue on the campus of Carleton University, return via University to Sunnyside and thence to Bronson Avenue. Turn left or NNW onto Bronson Avenue and drive 1.3 km to Carling Avenue and turn left 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 0.6 km to the traffic circle and drive three-quarters the way around it to the entrance (on your right, to the ENE) of The Arboretum of the Central Experimental Farm.
Map of the Arboretum area
Site Description and Birding Information: This is not only a good birding spot, but a beautiful natural area as well. As its name suggests, this is a tree garden. There are many varieties and most are labelled. There are extensive plantings of flowering crabtrees, which are gorgeous in May and full of fruit in the winter. This attracts numbers of fruit eating birds, especially Bohemian Waxwings, which are found most winters - sometimes accompanied by Cedar Waxwings. In winters when they irrupt, Pine Grosbeak are as likely here as anywhere. A Townsend's Solitaire wintered here from Dec. 27, 1989 to Apr. 14, 1990.
Northern Mockingbird has bred on the Central Experimental Farm just to the west of the Arboretum. One was seen here on May 11, 2005 and at the nearby Fletcher Wildlife Garden on May 13, 2005.
There are two feeders here, one near the parking lot and the other at the back of the loop road. Eastern Screech Owl used to be resident here, but reports petered out around 1987. The cedars at the back of the loop attract the smaller owls during migration. The larger trees sometimes attract larger owls, such as Great Horned Owl, for roosting purposes. April is the best month to check for Long-eared Owl. Since many of the trees are conifers, there is potential for winter finches and crossbills too.
The area below the Arboretum, along the Rideau Canal at Dow's Lake, has inlets and backwaters worth checking.
Rare birds seen here include: Great Gray Owl (Apr. 12, 1992), Snowy Egret (below the Arboretum, along the Rideau Canal at Dow's Lake from April 19 to at least Apr. 26, 2005), Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (below the Arboretum, along the Rideau Canal at Dow's Lake - April 9, 2007), Dark-eyed "Oregon" Junco (Nov. 2007), Northern Mockingbird (May 11, 2009).
Wintering Townsend's Solitaire
Rideau River West Side Route Directions: From the Arboretum parking lot, return to the traffic circle on Prince of Wales Drive. Turn right into the circle and go 270 degrees or three-quarters the way around it to head southwest on Prince of Wales Drive. Go 0.4 km and turn left or ESE into the entrance of the next site on this route, the Fletcher Wildlife Garden.
Return to Rideau River West Side.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 29, 2009