NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southeast
A favourite birding pastime, except in winter, is the "sewer stroll". The southeastern sector of the Ottawa checklist circle is so well endowed with these man-made ponds that one can make a most enjoyable day's outing based on lagoon locales. These ponds are sometimes full, attracting waterfowl; and sometimes drawn down, exposing sludge flats beloved of shorebirds in passage.
The Winchester and Chesterville lagoons are sometimes skipped because of their more southerly locations; the rest being more easily reached by heading east on the 417. St. Isidore lagoons are just beyond the circle and the sewage lagoons near the Alfred Bog (also worth visiting) are beyond those.
The most productive of these sites in the last several years have been the Embrun and Casselman lagoons. Each year the conditions are a bit different and attention to the OFNC's Bird Status Line (see Useful Tools & RBA's) will help you decide which sites are most productive this year.
A new site, while not a sewage lagoon, fits well with this category and is included here. This is the Dignard Constructed Wetland ponds, which has proven attractive to many of the same species fond of sewage lagoons.
Other sewage lagoon locations in the Ottawa circle that you may wish to check (best sites in boldface) are the Munster Lagoons, the old Richmond Lagoons, the Almonte Lagoons, the Rockland Lagoon, the Green's Creek Lagoon, the Masson Lagoon, the Thurso Sludge Pond and the much more "natural" quarry pond at the Burnside Pits.
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.
Chesterville - 2
Russell - 3
Dignard Constructed Wetland - 4
Embrun - 5
St. Albert - 6
Casselman - 7
St. Isidore - 8
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