Tag Archive | ottawa beach

Beautiful Bugs

Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth

Scarlet-winged Lichen Moth

On Saturday I decided to spend some time at the river. I planned to go to Ottawa Beach to look for the Bonaparte’s Gulls and shorebirds that had been mentioned in the weekly OFNC report, with a stop at Sarsaparilla Trail along the way to look for water birds and odonates. In the large, grassy clearing at Sarsaparilla Trail I found the usual Autumn and White-faced Meadowhawks hunting conspicuously from tall perches and chasing each other with wings that flashed gold in the sunlight. I looked for Band-winged Meadowhawks (this was the first place I’d ever seen this species) but had no luck.

Continue reading

My Favourite Places: Andrew Haydon Park

Andrew Haydon Park is located in the city’s west end on a wide section of the Ottawa River known as Lac Deschênes. It is accessed via two entrances on Carling Avenue.  The western entrance leads to a heavily-used recreational park dominated by manicured lawns, a bandshell for outdoor concerts, a picnic area, and two artificial ponds. A man-made waterfall adds to its charm, and Stillwater Creek flows into a small marsh at its western boundary. The area accessed by the eastern entrance is smaller and more heavily treed.  While there are some picnic tables and a playground close to the parking area, this half of the park is more secluded, more sheltered, and is much better for songbirds.  An unofficial path leads to the mouth of Graham Creek and the area known to birders as Ottawa Beach.

If you are looking for water birds, Ottawa Beach – and the western half of Andrew Haydon Park, to a lesser extent – is THE place to go.

Pond at Andrew Haydon

The western pond at AHP with the Ottawa River beyond

Unlike the trails of Stony Swamp which I’ve written about previously, Andrew Haydon Park is best visited when the water of the Ottawa River is free of ice.  Indeed, the parking lots are closed off during the winter with barricades, preventing access to the park. While spring migration can be good for early waterfowl returning, late summer and fall provide the most spectacular birding.  Not only do lower water levels attract shorebirds and other species which prefer mudflats and shallow marshes, a large number of waterfowl stage here in the fall, lingering for days or weeks while they fatten up for the journey south. However, once the cold weather arrives sometime in December and the river freezes over, the birds all depart – as do the birders.

Continue reading


After hearing that the Hudsonian Godwits were dividing their time equally between Ottawa Beach and Shirley’s Bay, I headed out on Sunday morning to Andrew Haydon Park and Ottawa Beach to look for these and other fall migrants. I walked out to the mudflats on the Ottawa Beach side first, and almost immediately noticed a group of five godwits huddled together in the water only a dozen or so meters beyond the shore. They were much closer than the ones at Shirley’s Bay, but still a bit too far for the camera, so I set off down the beach to see if I could find any others. Continue reading