NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southeast - Airport Loop
LEITRIM ROAD WEST
Spring: *** Summer: *** Fall: ** Winter: **
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 121A (Bronson Avenue). Go SSE on Bronson for 3.6 km, crossing the Rideau River on the Dunbar Bridge and going over Riverside Drive, before bearing right to take the Brookfield Road exit. In 0.1 km merge right onto Brookfield Road and drive 0.5 km to Riverside Drive. Turn left onto Riverside Drive and go 5.9 km to Limebank Road straight ahead. Continue straight SSE onto Limebank and drive 2.9 km to Leitrim Road. Turn left or ENE into the Leitrim Road West site.
Airport Loop Route Directions: From the junction of Limebank Road and Earl Armstrong Road, return along Limebank Road 2.0 km to Leitrim Road. Turn right or ENE into the Leitrim Road West site.
Map of Leitrim Road West area
Site Description and Birding Information: Superlative variety in sparrows is perhaps the highlight of this site (8 species breeding here). Beginning just east of the corner of Limebank and Leitrim Roads, take the time to scan the scrubby fields on the right, especially in summer, for Clay-coloured Sparrow, Willow and Alder Flycatcher and Black-billed Cuckoo. They are often more easily heard than seen. This scrubby area has also produced Northern Shrike in winter. A Northern Mockingbird was spotted here on June 13, 2009.
A marshy bit at the base of the hill provides habitat for Swamp Sparrow and other marsh denizens. The slope is wooded. The power line right-of-way provides an access to this area. At the top the hill, about 1.6 km east of the corner, you will have the airport fence on your left for the next kilometre or so. Watch for Grasshopper, Vesper and Savannah Sparrow here.
At the top of the hill, on the right, a pull off once provided access to the woods. The cedar woods and pine plantation here were good for roosting owls in winter and on migration. Barred, Long-eared and Northern Saw-whet Owls were sometimes found here with persistence. A Boreal Owl was found here on December 1, 1991. Northern Goshawk was also been found here. Now access points are gated and signed. Go back and use the power line to get into this area.
At 2.7 km east of Limebank, you will reach the corner with Bowesville Road to the right and Alert Road to the left (now closed). Watch for Gray Partridge in this area, especially around the buried tanks north of Leitrim and west of Alert Road. The overgrown areas south of Leitrim Road, beyond the Bowesville turnoff are excellent for sparrows, including Clay-coloured, Field and Vesper. A formerly mowed area just inside the fence at the corner of Leitrim and Alert has been allowed to grow and now is very attractive to sparrows and other seed eaters.
Rare birds found along this section of Leitrim Road include: Yellow-breasted Chat (Sept. 29, 1983 - along Leitrim Road), Boreal Owl (December 1, 1991 - see above), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Apr. 23, 2006 - along the hydro cut southeast of Leitrim Road), Great Egret (3 Aug. 6, 2006 -over Leitrim and Bowesville), Gyrfalcon (seen in at least three different winters).
Grasshopper Sparrow on Airport Fence
Note Yellow Spot at the Bend of the Wing
Airport Loop Route Directions: From wherever you are on Leitrim Road, return WSW to Limebank Road. Turn left or SSE onto it and drive 2.1 km to Earl Armstrong Road. Turn left or ENE into the next site on this route, Earl Armstrong Road.
Return to Airport Loop.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 29, 2009