NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Stony Swamp Loop
Spring: *** Summer: * Fall: **** Winter: **
Important Change in Access: As of mid-May 2003, this site is no longer open to birders. An incident, not involving birders, has caused the owners to negate their former arrangement with the OFNC to allow birders access. As usual in these cases, their over-riding concern is liability insurance. They cannot afford "incidents". Views of the active areas may still sometimes be had from Trail Road. A scope will now be very helpful here. Access may still be possible for those actually disposing of garbage at the dump and paying the fee, of course. Say a pickup truck full of old furniture being disposed of by birders ...
Warning: This site is private property and is an active garbage disposal site. Trucks and machinery operate here on workdays. Through an arrangement with the municipality, birders were allowed to drive into the dumpsite - just flashing their binoculars at the gate and being waved through unless there were good reasons for it. Swift moving dumptrucks expecting cars to stay clear was one hazard. Parking was done well off the beaten track. However, cars were exceptionally good blinds to work from in this environment - and allowed quick movement if you found yourself in the path of a garbage-laden behemoth. The roads were often muddy and changed position from time to time, depending on the infill area currently in use. The main roads were normally hard-packed by constant truck traffic - but branch roads were often uncertain. Sometimes the best viewing was from Trail Road anyway.
Map of Nepean Dump area
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 4.0 km to Cambrian Road. Turn left or ENE on Cambrian and almost immediately veer right or southeast on Trail Road the site of the Nepean Dump. The entrance is 1.0 km east on Trail, on the left.
Stony Swamp Loop Route Directions: From the Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds, return the c. 0.5 km northwest 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 the Nepean Dump. The entrance is 1.0 km east on Trail, on the left.
Aerial Photo of the Nepean Dump
Site Description and Birding Information: This has been an active dump site for many years. This is gull heaven! In the fall and early winter (until the Ottawa River freezes), it is possible to see as many as seven species of gulls swirling around the "tip" or resting nearby. Gulls attracted here often rest at the adjacent Moodie Drive Quarry Ponds or Bankfield Road. Most common are Ring-billed and Herring, then Great Black-backed. Uncommon but regular are Lesser Black-backed, Iceland and Glaucous. Thayer's Gull is less regular and harder to identify, so perhaps sometimes missed. And wherever large numbers of gulls gather in a small area, the possibility of finding a rarity is enhanced. Even in high summer one can find Ring-billed (many), Herring and Great Black-backed (a few) Gulls, and sometimes a Lesser Black-backed Gull (one adult Aug. 1, 2004).
Iceland Gull at Nepean Dump
Wintering flocks of Horned Larks may contain Lapland Longspurs. Sometimes temporary ponds attract migrating shorebirds. And, of course, all the food attracts a number of raptors, who can often be seen posted around the fringes of the dump. Vesper Sparrows nest around the dump, listen for their song on the road into the tip. A pair of Northern Mockingbirds uses the area behind the landfill in summer.
On your way into or out of the dump, check out the fields near the corner of Cambrian and Trail Roads, for Vesper, Grasshopper and Clay-coloured Sparrow.
Recent rarities are Laughing Gull (April 20,2002), Gyrfalcon (Nov-Dec, 2001), Franklin's Gull (May 1996), California Gull (1988).
Glaucous Gull with Tasty Tidbit
Stony Swamp Loop Route Directions: From the Nepean Dump, return to Trail Road and turn left or southwest onto it. Proceed 2.2 km on Trail as it winds out to Barnsdale Road. Turn left or ENE on Barnsdale and go 0.4 km, crossing Highway 416 to reach Cedarview Road. Turn left onto it and go 2.1 km to Cambrian Road. Park near the corner at the next site on this loop, the junction of Cambrian & Cedarview Roads.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 29, 2009