NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southwest - Dunrobin & Carp Ridges
Spring: *** Summer: *** Fall: *** Winter: **
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 142 (Palladium Drive). If travelling west, the 0.4 km offramp dumps you right or north onto Palladium. If driving east, a 0.3 km offramp brings you to Palladium, where you will turn left or northwest onto it and in 0.5 km join the westbound offramp traffic. Both groups will now follow Palladium around to the northeast 1.0 km to Huntmar Drive. Turn left or northwest onto Huntmar and go 3.8 km to the bridge over the Carp River and park near it.
Dunrobin & Carp Ridges Route Directions: Return the 1.7 km west along Old Carp Road to Huntmar Drive and turn left or southeast onto it. Go 2.0 km to the bridge over the Carp River and park near it.
Microsoft Earth Map of Huntmar Drive area
Site Description and Birding Information: Huntmar Drive, (the Huntley - March Township Line), is a gravel road that can be quite dusty. And "development" is beginning to make inroads (literally) on this wonderful natural area. It is none-the-less a great birding spot.
About 0.3 km northwest of the bridge is a railway overpass and very dangerous corner. On the far side of the overpass, to the north, there is an excellent area for migrants in spring, including warblers and flycatchers. A wood road leading off to the right or east provides access to the woodland. The rail line (watch for trains) and a trail that begins by paralleling it can be used as another way of accessing the area to the east. Golden-winged Warblers have bred here for several years and are on the increase. A singing Blue-winged Warbler was found in this area in 1999, again in 2002, and yet again in 2004. A shortage of eligible mates for the Blue-winged Warbler has led to the sightings of "Brewster's Warblers" in 2004 and 2005. These are hybrids between the closely related Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers. It has also led to some Golden-winged plumaged birds singing Blue-winged Warbler songs.
From the bridge over the Carp River, walking along the roadway in either direction can be rewarding. On the northeast side of the road from the rail line nearly to the bridge is an area of young hardwoods and scrub, part of which can also be viewed from the rail bed, as mentioned previously. Both Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos have been had here, the latter a rarity. Whip-poor-wills have been heard calling here at night.
The topography rises quickly to the north, creating thermals. Watch the sky in that direction for passing raptors, especially in spring migration. Turkey Vultures will be most common.
A couple of pairs of the scarce Northern Rough-winged Swallow breed under the bridge. In the area adjacent the bridge, and along the river immediately to the east of it, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher has bred for several years.
Rough-winged Swallow Near Bridge
In spring, the mature willows lining the road are often full of flitting migrants; including warblers, vireos, kinglets, etc.
The extensive marsh on the southwest side of the road,are home to many of our regular marsh birds. Virginia Rail and Sora breed here, along with Marsh Wren. Northern Harriers patrol from time to time. Migrant waterfowl sometimes stop here in spring, as does the occassional migrant shorebird. The old willows out in the marsh to the southwest side of the road, 0.5 km beyond the bridge, were host to a rare Boreal Owl on Feb. 22, 1992. A rare Great Gray Owl was seen along this stretch on the same day!
On the northeast side of the road, southeast of the bridge, there is an expanse of young willows, stretching along the road and river. This, along with the marsh on the other side of the road, is an excellent spot to compare the common Alder Flycatcher with its scarcer cousin the Willow Flycatcher. Both call on territory and breed here.
A Northern Mockingbird was seen along Huntmar Drive (# 779) in May 2002. In the 2004 - 05 Great Gray Owl invasion, Huntmar Drive, especially southeast of the bridge to Richardson Sideroad (and adjacent Richardson), was host to as many as eight birds. One was first noted Dec. 27, 2004; the multiple birds were present from mid-February at least to March 23, 2005 (when 5 were spotted). A Great Egret was seen over Huntmar Drive on May 28, 2005.
Dunrobin & Carp Ridges Route Directions: From the bridge on Huntmar Drive, go 2.6 km southeast to Richardson Side Road, our next site. Turn left or northeast on it and park near the corner.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 27, 2009