NeilyWorld Birding Ottawa - Southeast - Mer Bleue / French Hill Loop
MER BLEUE BOARDWALK & TRAIL
Spring: *** Summer: *** Fall: ** Winter: ***
Independent Directions to this Site: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 112 (Innes Road). If travelling west, the 0.2 km offramp dumps you right or northeast onto Innes. If driving east, a 0.3 km offramp brings you to Innes Road, where you will turn left or northeast onto it and in 0.5 km join the westbound offramp traffic. Both groups will now follow Innes Road northeast 1.8 km from here to Anderson Road. Turn right or southeast into Anderson Road and go 4.9 km to Ridge Road. Turn left or east onto Ridge and drive 2.6 km to a parking area at its end.
Mer Bleue - French Hill Loop Route Directions: From the parking area for the Anderson Road Trails, turn right or SSE onto Anderson Road and proceed 1.2 km to Ridge Road. Turn left or east onto Ridge and drive 2.6 km to a parking area at its end.
Map of Mer Bleue Boardwalk & Trail Area
Site Description and Birding Information: While the trail system roughly parallels Ridge Road on either side nearly back out to Anderson Road (creating a 6 km loop), it is the smaller 1 km loop containing the boardwalk that is distinctive here. The boardwalk allows access to the open bog habitat that is the heart of Mer Bleue. Nashville Warblers breed along the boardwalk's treed southeastern corner. Hermit Thrush can be heard from the boardwalk in breeding season. Lincoln's Sparrow nests in the open, tamarack spotted bog along and beyond the southwestern portion of the boardwalk (as many as 3 pairs seen or heard most years).
Google Satellite Map of Mer Bleue Boardwalk Area
Palm Warblers have bred here since 2004 on the southern leg of the boardwalk. Both Eastern and Western races have been reported here - we are in the zone where the populations overlap. With truly great luck you may see one of Mer Bleue's breeding Sandhill Cranes (one was flushed along the boardwalk July 23, 2006); but they are normally found well to the east. Northern Shrike and Black-backed Woodpecker have been found here. The huge tangles to the west, just off the parking area, are very attractive to skulkers, especially in winter. Northern Mockingbirds have wintered here at least twice. A Northern Hawk-Owl was seen at Mer Bleue on Dec. 19, 2004.
Palm Warbler along the Mer Bleue Boardwalk May 6, 2007
Mer Bleue Boardwalk & Bog
Listen for Clay-colored Sparrow and Sedge Wren along the northern side of Ridge Road, which has been blessed with more than its fair share of rarities over the years. They include Henslow's Sparrow (June 1999), Sedge Wren (May 1988 & June 1992 - opposite # 5120), Olive-sided Flycatcher (late May 1990 - opposite # 5258) & an Orchard Oriole (May 28, 1976).
View of Marsh along Ridge Road
Mer Bleue - French Hill Loop Route Directions: From the parking area at the end of Ridge Road, proceed 2.6 km back to Anderson Road. Turn left or SSE onto Anderson and drive 1.0 km to this loop's next site, the Ramseyville Marsh. Park along the roadside near the culvert in the middle of the marsh.
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Copyright © 2000 - 2009 Larry E. Neily
Last update: October 30, 2009