MOODIE DRIVE QUARRY PONDS
Spring: **** Summer: *** Fall: **** Winter: *
Warning: This site is private property and is an active quarry. Because of liability concerns the pit operators do not allow access during working hours. Trucks and machinery operate here on workdays, so please don't block the roads into the quarry. At one time, the owners had generously granted permission for birders to enter on weekends and holidays, and after closing time on workdays. However, the local management apparently does not share this liberal view and has indicated that folks should not cross the fence at any time. As most of the pond can be seen from the gate, especially with a good scope, the best policy would seem to be staying outside the fence.
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 416 take exit 66 (Fallowfield Road). If southbound, a 0.4 km offramp dumps onto Fallowfield, where you will turn right or west. If northbound, the 0.4 km offramp brings you to Fallowfield, where you will turn left or west onto it and in 0.5 km join the southbound offramp traffic. Both groups will now follow Fallowfield Road west for an additional 0.4 km to reach Moodie Drive. Turn left or southeast onto Moodie Drive and go 5.3 km, passing Cambrian Road to reach the quarries (second gate on the left). Park along the side of the road without blocking the access.
Map of Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds area
Stony Swamp Loop Route Directions: From wherever you may be on Brophy / Bankfield Road, proceed to the T-junction of Brophy/Bankfield and Moodie Drive (2.3 km southwest of Highway 416 and 4.0 km northeast of Eagleson Road). Go NNW on Moodie; at 2.1 km you will cross Barnsdale Road and see the quarries on your right or to the east; and at 3.3 km you can pull off near the gate, on your right, into the quarries. Park along the side of the road without blocking the access.
Aerial Photo of Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds
Site Description and Birding Information: This site has, in the last ten years, become one of the best birding spots around Ottawa. The large ponds attract numbers of gulls, geese (including Snow), both diving and dabbling ducks, and herons (including Black-crowned NIght-Herons). It has seen a goodly number of less common and rare species for this area. Proximity to the Nepean Dump allows the gulls attracted to the food supply there to rest nearby. A good spot to look for Lesser Black-backed Gull in October and November, sometimes even in late summer. Ruddy Duck may breed here and larger numbers may be found in the late summer and fall (41 were seen Aug. 1, 2004). Five Redhead were also seen here in June 2002. A pair of Gadwall stayed into June 2005. Raptors of many kinds can be seen here. Red-tailed Hawks are resident, while Rough-legged Hawks winter here. During waterfowl migration and sometimes in summer, Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles (and rarely Golden Eagles), pass on patrol. Common Nighthawks may be seen hawking over the ponds in their fall migration in mid-August.
Northern Shrike has been seen along Barnsdale Road in winter. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was observed on Aug. 1, 2004 along Barnsdale.
Recent rarities are
Mute Swan (1997),
Cattle Egret (Nov. 4, 2001),
Gyrfalcon (Nov. 3-4 & Dec. 1 & 5, 2001),
Greater White-fronted Goose (Oct. 12 & 20, 2002; Oct. 18, 2004; Oct. 23-27, 2005; Apr. 17-30, 2006; Oct. 14 or 15 to at least Dec. 2, 2006; Sep. 30 - Oct. 2, 2007; Apr. 20, 2008; Sep. 17, 2008);
Caspian Tern (2 - July 1, 2004; May 31 & June 5 & 11, 2008),
Sabine's Gull (imm. - Sep. 5, 2004),
California Gull (ad. Apr. 15, 2005; ad. Nov. 6 & 8, 2007),
Ross's Goose (Oct. 23-27, 2005; Oct. 1, 2007; Apr. 8, May 11 and Oct. 10, 2009),
Tundra Swan (Dec. 3, 2005; 4 - Dec. 25, 2006),
Great Egret (Jul. 28, 2006, Aug. 14, 2008, etc.),
Northern Gannet (Nov. 15, 2007),
Eurasian Wigeon (Jun. 25 - Jul. 2, 2008),
Black-legged Kittiwake (1 to 4 juv. Aug. 5-13, 2008),
American White Pelican (Aug. 11-Sep. 1, 2008),
Little Gull (juv. August 9, 2010).
Views of the Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds
Stony Swamp Loop Route Directions: From the Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds, go NNW 1.1 km on Moodie Drive to Cambrian Road. Turn right or ENE on Cambrian and almost immediately veer right or southeast on Trail Road, the site of our next location, the Nepean Dump. The entrance is 1.0 km east on Trail, on the left.
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