CASSELMAN 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), 52 km east of Ottawa, take the Casselman exit (66) and go NNW toward the town of Casselman. Drive 1.1 km NNW into town on Rue Principale, crossing the railway tracks and the main cross-street (St. Isidore), to 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 Casselman Sewage Lagoons is on your right almost immediately.
Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route Route Directions: From the St. Albert Sewage Lagoons entrance, continue ENE along Regional Road 7 for c. 8 km to where the road makes a 90 degree left and continues as Regional 7 going NNW. Follow it NNW for an additional 4.6 km, passing under Highway 417 and proceeding on into Casselman where Regional 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 Casselman Sewage Lagoons is on your right almost immediately.
Map of Casselman Sewage Lagoons area
Site Description and Birding Information: This is one of the best sewage lagoon sites in our area. Birders are generally tolerated here, but have been asked politely to leave on occasion. Park along the road into the lagoons, but well off to the side so that the road is not blocked and walk around the dykes circling the ponds. Usually there is some shorebird habitat along the edges and it often concentrates the birds. The water often hosts a variety of waterfowl, the large pond size necessitates a scope for those in the center. Be sure to try to keep the sun at your back as much as possible to prevent glare. This area is at the extreme eastern edge of the Ottawa Checklist Circle. In fact, the circle's limit passes through the two eastmost ponds, but includes the entire westmost pond (see map for an accurate rendition of the circle's position). Only the western end of the new third pond is inside the circle.
All the regular species of shorebirds which pass through the Ottawa area have been seen here, Semipalmated (mid-May to early June and mid-July to mid-Oct.), Least (May and July through early Oct.) Sandpiper. Less common species such as White-rumped (late May and Aug. through early Nov. - peaking in Oct.) and Stilt (mid-Jul. through Sep.) Sandpiper are regular here. Uncommon species are sometimes seen, including Baird's, and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope (late May and Aug. through Sep.), Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit (Sep-Oct), Whimbrel and Long-billed Dowithcher (mid-Sep. to mid-Oct.). 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. Watch also for migrating swallows, waterfowl and gulls. Redhead (May and June), Surf and White-winged Scoter (October) are among the less common waterfowl to have been seen here. The surrounding area may host a number of raptors in season, including Northern Harrier and Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks. Breeding birds include Ruddy Duck, Sora, Virginia Rail and Wilson's Phalarope. Watch for flocks of Bobolinks passing through in the latter half of August.
Rarities found here include Spotted Redshank (Jul. 19 to 24, 1990), Little Stint (Jul. 25, 1992), Curlew Sandpiper (May 26, 1996), Cattle Egret (Oct. 3-5, 2006), Eared Grebe (July 5, 2011).
Casselman Sewage Lagoons
Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route Route Directions: From the Casselman Sewage Lagoons turn right or ENE onto Concession 5 Road (or Route 500) and go 4.3 km to the T-junction at County Road 8. Turn left or NNW onto it and drive 0.6 km to County Road 3. Turn right or ENE onto it at the Y-junction (or 0.1 km farther along at the T-junction). There is no route sign until the two converge. Proceed 9.7 km ENE on County Road 3 to Bourgon Road (1.3 km short of County Road 9 and St. Isidore de Prescott). Turn left or west on Bourgon and follow it 1.2 km to the turnoff, just short of the end of the pavement, to the next site on this loop, the St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons. Drive 0.2 km to the gate and park in the single space there.
Return to Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route.
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