Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

With broad-brimmed hat on your head in summer, toque in winter and binoculars slung around your neck, let’s go bird watching in Lanark County! Driving slowly or walking along our country roads, meandering along our many trails, checking out ample forests or peering over marshes, creeks or rivers, bird watching has become a very popular individual and family activity, bound to interest young and old alike.

Cliff at presquile

An Eastern Ontario county, divided almost equally into Canadian Shield and St. Lawrence Limestone Plain, Lanark County is home, at some time each year, to some 200 species of birds.About 130 migratory bird species nest in the county, 32 more are permanent residents and 35 migrate through the area to breed in the north. This guide will show many of the good places to find birds, although all of Lanark County’s rural roads produce some species most of the time.

Enjoy a wonderful day outdoors and still be home by sunset. Or, watch the sunset, stay the night with us and enjoy another day of bird watching in the County.

- Cliff Bennett

Information contained within our Lanark County Bird Watching Journeys brochure is provided here on our website. The map below contains all birding locations from the brochure with descriptions and directions. A list and PDF download of the information is provided below the map.

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PDF Download:  Lanark County Bird Watching Locations

Town of Mississippi Mills

# 1 Appleton and Mississippi River

How to Get There: From Carleton Place, go north on County Rd. 29 towards Almonte. Turn on Wilson St. towards village of Appleton, go through village of Appleton, over the bridge, then go left on River St. to bay and boat launch.

Observation Points: River viewing all along Wilson St. past the golf course. Check out golf course. Viewing at bay. Reverse and follow River Rd. to County Rd.17 (Appleton Sideroad) to look along Mississippi River.

Watch For: Open field birds along golf course, River Road and Appleton Sideroad. River and migrating ducks, loons, grebe, herons. Occasional bald eagle over river in bay. Warbling vireo nests in willows at bay. Martin house to east of bay. Swallows and shorebirds.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Some open water in winter.

#2 Ramsay 7th Concession

How to Get There: Follow the main street (Bridge Street) in Carleton Place north to Thomas Street, then north onto 7th Ramsay Concession 7.

From Almonte, take County Rd. 29 south to Rae Road, go west on Rae Rd. to Ramsay Concession 7.

Observation Points: There are several fields that flood in spring and fall all along this concession. road. Various open fields, marshy land, woodlots and farm buildings. Many hedgerows.

Watch For: Shore birds and plovers when fields flooded; swallows around barns at roadside, resident red-tailed hawk near intersection with Drummond Rd and field birds in open areas.

Seasonal Information: Best in spring and late autumn but good general birding all year.

#3 Old Perth Road in Mississippi Mills

How to Get There: From Almonte or Carleton Place; find Old Perth Road at the western edge of Almonte.

Observation Points: Good general birding all along Old Perth Road to end. Walk northwards on unopened 6th Concession and 7th Concession of Ramsay. Scan marshlands and creek, and heavily wooded roadway.

Watch For: Wetland birds in marshes and creek; great high-canopy warblers, tanagers.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Part of road not winter maintained but usually open.

#4 Gemmill/Metcalfe Park

How to Get There: In Almonte

Observation Points: Begin behind the Almonte Community Centre on Bridge St., follow different trails from bottom of hill. Cross road and scan river. Take River Walk from behind post office for extra viewing of river.

Watch For: Forest birds, sharp-shinned hawk and merlin, cardinals, grebe and some ducks.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Much open water in winter.

#5 Almonte Sewage Lagoons

How to Get There: From Almonte, take County Road 16, (Wolf Grove Road) west. The lagoons are on the right, about 1/2 km. from the intersection with Highway 29.

Observation Points: (i) Main Gate on County Road. (ii) Turn right at next intersection at the Auld Kirk, drive about 400 m to the gate across from the cemetery. Look for the sign for bird watching and the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ nature trail. This trail takes you to an observation tower overlooking the municipal lagoons.

Watch For: shorebirds when water is low, ducks, geese and grebe.

Seasonal Information: Good from ice melting to freeze-up.

Note: For all municipal lagoons, you enter at your own risk.

#6 Mill of Kintail

How to Get There: From Carleton Place, take McNeely Ave. to Town Line Road and County Rd 29. Turn onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at town limits and drive approx. 10 km. to Mill. From Almonte, take County Rd 29 north three km. to Clayton Road; two km to Ramsay Conc. 8 and then north to Mill gate.

Observation Points: Before gateway, check out open fields. From Mill parking lot, follow trail along the river to the mill. Around mill, look for different species around all buildings. Cross over the bridge and follow woodland trails.

Watch For: Hawks and sandhill cranes in open fields; spotted sandpipers along river; bluebirds, swallows and sparrows around buildings and high canopy warblers and thrushes in wooded areas.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons but trails are used by X-country skiers in winter. Drop a donation in the metal box at parking lot.

#7 Bellamy Road

How to Get There: From Carleton Place and Almonte, travel north on County road 29 to Cedar Hill Rd. This road leads onto Bellamy Rd.

Observation Points: Open fields along Cedar Hill Rd. and the start of Bellamy Rd. Most of Bellamy Rd from Indian Creek is wooded.

Watch For: Sandhill cranes in open fields; bluebirds and thrush and other woodland species. In breeding season, listen for sandhills calling. Extensive wetlands along roadside produce ducks, grebes and herons. Winter seed eaters in woods.

Seasonal Information: Good roadside birding all seasons.

#8 Pakenham Conservation Area

How to Get There: From Almonte, go north on County Rd. 29 to Village of Pakenham or, from Ottawa, take 417 north to Exit 169, Kinburn Sideroad to Pakenham. Conservation area is both sides of Five Span Stone Bridge.

Observation Points: Park sites, both sides of river.

Watch For: Bay ducks, especially fall, herons, spotted sandpiper, kingfisher and misc. upland species.

Seasonal Information: Good all season. Some open water in winter.

Township of Lanark Highlands

#9 Drummond’s Pond to Taylor Lake

How to Get There: From Almonte, take County Road 16 west to Upper Perth Road. The Pond is 1/2 km along this road, at the intersection with Ramsay Conc. 1.

Observation Point: From roadway only.

Watch For: Ducks and shorebirds on ponds.

Continue on: Upper Perth Road to Lanark Highlands Conc. 12 (field birds), north on Conc. 12 to Taylor Lake (water and marsh birds).

Seasonal Information: For ponds, Spring and Fall is best. Pond dries up in summer. For Taylor Lake, Spring to freeze-up. Remainder, all seasons.

#10-1 & #10-2 Clayton to Command Bridge

How to get there: From Almonte, take County Rd. #16 west to County Rd. #9, north on #9 into Village of Clayton. Continue west on #9 to Galbraith Rd. and south to bridge over Indian River.

Observation Points: (#10-1) In Clayton, check out bay by dam at boat launch and across the road to view downriver. (#10-2) At Command Bridge on Galbraith Rd, view marshes and river on both sides.

Watch For: Bay ducks, herons and shorebirds by dam. Herons and sometimes perching hawks down river. At Command Bridge, ducks, herons, warblers, loons, swamp sparrows.

Seasonal Information: Best in spring and autumn. General winter birding along roadways

#11 Deachman’s Bridge, Lanark

How to Get There: Go to Lanark Village on Highway 511. In the middle of the village on the

main street (George), turn east on Owen and then onto Rosetta Road. Observation Point: The bridge is over the Clyde River, just out of the village.

Watch For: Swallows under the bridge, various water birds and black terns upriver. Continue on Rosetta Road for good open rural birding.

Seasonal Information: May to October is best at the bridge. All seasons for open rural areas.

#12 Baird Trail

How to Get There: From Perth, take County Rd. 511 north, through Lanark Village to County Rd. 8. Turn right (east) to park (sign). From Almonte, take County Rd. 16 to Middleville, turn south one block to County Rd. 8. Follow to park sign.

Observation Points: Small park and entire trail is good birding.

Watch For: Chestnut-sided warbler which nests at edge of parking lot. N.waterthrushes and woodland warblers and thrushes. Sedge wrens near boardwalk. Northern harriers over marsh.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons.

#13 Purdon Wetland Complex

How to Get There: From Perth, take County Road 511 to County Rd. 8. Follow Conservation Area signs. From Almonte take County 16 to Hopetown, go south on highway 511 to County Road 8.

Observation Points: From either parking lot, follow trails throughout the area.

Watch for: Grebes and ducks on small lake, kingfisher, forest species on Mosquin Trail. Check out the roadway between the two parking lots.

Seasonal Information: Trails not open in winter.

#14 Dalhousie Lake, east end

How to Get There: From Perth, take County Rd. 511 to Balderson, west on County Rd. 7 to County Rd. 12 and west to McDonalds Corners. North on County Rd. 8 to bridge.

Observation Points: View east end of lake and further along shoreline on County Rd. 8.

Watch For: Duck species, herons, grebe, kingfishers, shore birds.

Seasonal Information: Frozen during winter with a little open water under bridge.

Township of Tay Valley

#15 Brooke Valley

How to Get There: Take Highway 7 west of Perth to Brooke and Old Brooke Road.

Observation Points: Trans Canada Trail crosses this road in four places. Walk trail sections or view entire area from road. McGowan Lake at west end.

Watch For: Many different species in various habitats.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons.

#16 Murphy’s Point Provincial Park

How to Get There: From Perth Take County Rd 1 south towards Rideau Ferry. Turn onto County Rd. 21 and follow signs to park. From Smiths Falls, take Highway 15 to Lombardy, turn west onto Rideau Ferry Rd, cross over bridge and on to County Rd. 21. Follow the signs to park.

Observation Points: There are five good walking trails in this park, all great for spring, summer and fall birding. Register at park gate and pick up trail map.

Watch For: Forest canopy warblers, woodland thrushes, shore and water species.

Seasonal Information: Not good in winter as trails are open to cross-country skiers only.

#17 Tay River/Rideau Trail

How to Get There: From Perth, follow Craig St. towards Smiths Falls. Immediately after crossing the bridge over the Tay River, turn right onto Riverside Rd.

Observation Points: Tay River on one side, heavy tangled brush on other. Take Rideau trail through fence at end of road and follow to end of river and on into marsh.

Watch For: Herons, bitterns, listen for rails all along the river. Watch for cardinals, tree sparrows, waxwings in tangled shrubbery.

Seasonal Information: Frozen in winter but good general birding on roadway.

Township of Drummond/North Elmsley

#18 Perth Wildlife Preserve

How to Get There: From Perth, take County Rd. 1 south 2 km. to Wildlife Rd. Turn east at Preserve sign.

Observation Points: Bird all along this road. Check out lagoons on right. Park at Reserve area and take trail to Tay River Marsh viewing.

Watch For: Warblers everywhere, fall migration species, water birds on ponds, osprey over marsh, rails and other marsh birds.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Ponds and marsh frozen over in winter.

#19 Rideau Ferry Conservation Area

How To Get There: From Perth, take County Rd. 1 south of town to Rideau Ferry. Look for Conservation Area sign on left within the village. From Smiths Falls, take Highway 15 to Lombardy , go west on Rideau Ferry Road to Village, cross over the bridge and Conservation Area sign is on the right.

Observation Points: All along roadway to picnic area and along lakeshore. Check out village around marina and bridge.

Watch For: Swans, loons and many ducks, especially in spring. Finches and cardinals along roadway.

Seasonal Information: Substantial duck migration area in spring and fall. Good all seasons; some open water from bridge and marina.

#20 Beveridge Locks/Tay Marsh

How to Get There: From Smiths Falls, take County Rd. 43 West to Port Elmsley, then onto County Rd. 18 to lock station. From Perth, take County Rd. 43 east to Port Elmsley, then onto County Rd. 18 to lock station.

Observation Points: Scan canal down to lakeshore and area. Walk under the bridge and follow road to upper locks and continue onto trails to scan marsh.

Watch For: Osprey nests, herons, many berry eaters, ruffed grouse, swallows, marsh birds and many others.

Seasonal Information: Trails not open in winter but road to upper locks is. Some open water.

#21 Mississippi Lake National Wildlife Area

How to Get There: From Carleton Place, take highway #7 west past Innisville to Drummond Conc. 10B for first entrance and Drummond Conc. 9A for second entrance. Turn left both times. From Perth, go east on highway #7 for above roads and turn right both times.

Observation Points: On 10B, go to end of road, park and walk in to area and lakeshore. Heavy hedgerow growth along roadside. On 9A, drive to boat launch, observe along McIntyre Creek and into marsh at lake.

Watch For: Berry eating species like cardinals and finches. Ducks, grebes and herons. Wild turkeys in open fields and woodland warblers and thrushes in forest area.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Heavy duck population in fall.

#22 Blueberry Marsh/McIntyre Creek

How to Get There: From Carleton Place, take highway 7 west past Innisville to Drummond Conc. 7. Turn right. From Perth, follow County Rd. 511 north to Drummond Conc. 7. Turn right.

Observation Points: Good birding all along this roadway, especially along McIntyre Creek and through Blueberry marsh.

Watch For: Waterbirds, marsh and sedge wrens in marsh and creek. Northern harriers over marsh. Wild turkeys in fields. Hawks.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons.

Town of Smiths Falls

#23 Lower Reach Park and Canal, Smiths Falls

How to Get There: In Smiths Falls, take Elmsley St. east to Old Slys and then further east along Highway 43 following canal.

Observation Points: Cross canal on Old Slys and explore park along river. View Rideau canal and marshes along Highway 43.

Watch For: In park, shore and water birds, open regulars and warblers in season. Along 43, water birds, herons and grebes. Swallows and martins over river and canal.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Some open water in winter.

#24 Upper Reach Park, Smiths Falls

How to Get There: Within the town, follow Lombard St. westward to Abbott St., Turn left and pass over the canal and into park.

Observation Points: Canal entrance into the marshes by open cantilever bridge and around boat houses.

Watch For: Osprey nest on south side of canal, martins and swallows around boathouses, ducks and marsh birds.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons

Township of Montague

#25 Kilmarnock and Merrickville

How to Get There: From Smiths Falls, follow County Rd. #43 towards Kemptville. At Kilmarnock, turn onto Kilmarnock Rd. to Rideau Canal Lock.

Observation Points: Check out the marsh along east side of road just after Rosedale Road. Just before the locks, view large bay and area. Then follow over canal and along Sturgess Rd. and Roses Bridge Rd. for viewing at bridge. Return to #43 and immediately turn onto Rideau River Road which loops back to #43. Continue on into Merrickville.

Watch For: Osprey nest at marsh, ducks and other water birds in bay areas and other open wood species between. On Rideau River Road, check out the river and open fields.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Some open water during winter.

#26 Nolan’s Corners Marsh

How to Get There: From Smiths Falls, go east on Roger Stevens Drive (County Rd. 4) to Code Drive (1km). Marsh is at the end of Code Drive at Rosedale Road.

Observation Points: Small lay-by at Rosedale Creek and small dam structure.

Watch For: Ducks, grebe and black terns plus other marsh birds.

Seasonal Information: Frozen over in winter.

#27 Carroll Road

How To Get There: From Carleton Place, take Highway 15 to Franktown, go west on County Rd. 10 to Gilles Corners, south on Ford Rd, to McLaughlin Rd, and west to Carroll Rd. From Perth, go east on County Rd. 10 to Gilles Corners and Ford Rd. From Smiths Falls, go north on Carroll Rd. from intersection of Cornelia and Elmsley at hospital.

Observation Points: There are several marshes along Carroll Rd. plus forested areas and open fields.

Watch For: Rails in marshes, warblers and thrushes in forested areas and many field species.

Seasonal Information: Best in spring and fall. Good for winter species in spots.

 Township of Beckwith

#28 Jock River Bridges in Beckwith

How to Get There: From Ottawa, take Highway #7 towards Carleton Place to Cemetery Sideroad. (next past Ashton Station Road). Turn South towards Jock River.

Observation Points: First Bridge is on Cemetery Sideroad and second is around the corner on Beckwith Conc. 9. Both offer great viewing of Goodwood Marsh.

Watch For: Ducks, grebe, other water and marsh birds.

#29 Beckwith Nature Trail

How to Get There: Take highway 15 south of Carleton Place to Blacks Corners, go east one km. on Beckwith 9th line to Beckwith Recreation Park. Look for trail entrance behind double arena.

Observation Points: Trail follows into Goodwood Marsh for 5 km.

Watch for: Wetland species including thrushes, waterthrush, ruffed grouse, winter wren.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Ski and snowshoe in winter.

#30 Scotch Corners Road

How to Get There: From Perth or from Carleton Place, follow Highway #7 to intersection with County Rd. 9, between Innisville and Carleton Place. Turn South on Scotch Corners Road and follow along to Drummond Conc. 11. Continue on this road to Ebbs Bay Road and back to Highway 7.

Observation Points: Watch for ponds along roadside in Spring and Fall.

Watch For: Ducks and other water birds as well as open field and woodlot species.

Seasonal Information: Ponds dry up in summer. Other area, good all seasons.

Town of Carleton Place

#31 Carleton Place Arena Trail

How to get there: At Carleton Place, take McNeely Ave. from Highway #7 to Lake Avenue. On Lake Avenue, go west to find the arena, just behind the hospital. Park in front of the arena.

Observation Point: At river side of arena, join trail which meanders along the river.

Watch For: Water birds, berry-eating birds, warblers and many others.

Seasonal Information: Good all seasons. Some open water in winter.

#32 Carleton Place Centennial Park

How to Get There: In Carleton Place, go through town main street to High Street and west to Joseph Street. Take Joseph St. to the river. Trail is marked on right.

Observation Points: Scan park and river shores. Follow trails through area. While in town, drive to other side of river and Riverside Park at boat launch.

Watch For: Ducks in lagoons and in river; waterthrush, cardinals, berry eaters and high canopy warblers. Many duck species at boat launch.

Season Information: Good all seasons. River open in winter.

Seasonal Information: Best in spring and summer; frozen over in winter.

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MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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