NeilyWorld  Birding Ottawa - Southeast - Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route


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), 67 km east of Ottawa, take the St. Isidore / Maxville exit (51) and go north on County Road 9 toward the town of St. Isidore de Prescott. Drive 5.3 km north, then NNW, to County Road 3. Turn left or WSW onto it and go 1.3 km to Bourgon Road. Turn right or west on Bourgon and follow it 1.2 km to the turnoff, just short of the end of the pavement, to the St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons. Drive 0.2 km to the gate and park in the single space there.
         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 St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons. Drive 0.2 km to the gate and park in the single space there.
Map of St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons area
Map of St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons area
         Site Description and Birding Information: This sewage lagoon site is outside the Ottawa Checklist Circle, but since it is so close, it has been included in this route. Birders are generally tolerated here, but may be asked politely to leave on occasion. Park 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 ponds necessitate 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. There are three ponds here, separated by a Y-shaped dyke.
         All the regular species of shorebirds which pass through the Ottawa area have been seen here. Less common species such as Stilt (mid-Jul. through Sep.) Sandpiper are regular here. Uncommon species are often seen. 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. American Coot and Common Moorhen can be found in late summer and fall. The surrounding area may host a number of raptors, including Northern Harrier and Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks. Breeding birds include Ruddy Duck, Sora, Virginia Rail and Wilson's Phalarope.
         Rarities found here include Marbled Godwit (Jun. 4, 1988; May 20-23, 2007) and Eurasian Wigeon (male - May 21 to 25, 1994).
Wilson's Phalarope (male) at St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons
Wilson's Phalarope (male) at St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons
         Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route Route Directions: Though this is the last site on this route, there are other sewage lagoons east of the Ottawa checklist circle which you may wish to visit. The best of these is included as a part of a site in the Favourite Outlying Areas: the Alfred Sewage Lagoons. Another sewage lagoon site in the eastern portion of the circle, but not on the Eastern Sewage Lagoons Route is the Rockland Sewage Lagoons.
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Copyright 2000 - 2009     Larry E. Neily
Last update:  October 25, 2009