Our weekly birding day is usually Sunday and we took ourselves off today to St-Thimothée marsh which we have not been to since the spring.

Being a marsh, of course, it has plenty of frogs …

… and being a nature reserve it has the biggest, soundest, most earthquake-proof hide in the world courtesy of our friends at Hydro-Quebec:

Anyway – plenty of good birding. We go here for a short stroll to see what’s happening and rarely get away in less than three hours despite it being really quite a small area. Highlight was shared between two birds – one photographed and one hardly believed. The photographed one was a very nice American Bittern that we watched for quite some time catching its afternoon snacks – look carefully at the picture – he’s right in the centre:

… and the other bird of the day? I’ll come back to that. First, there was a small group of very noisy Killdeer

… several flocks of red-winged Blackbirds starting to gather (and thereby signalling the end of summer approaches), GB Herons, Belted Kingfisher, Least Bittern (heard) and various other marsh critters including this Kingbird

But the other bird of the day seems scarcely credible. A red russet with white and black bird streaked out of a reed bed right in front of us and dived out of site in more vegetation. “Wazzat” we cried and confirming we had both seen the same field marks grabbed our copy of Sibley. Given the territory and behaviour it could only have been a Red-necked or else a Horned Grebe; both pretty uncommon hereabouts except occasionally seen in passage at the end of the season. “Ah well”, we thought, “one or the other” when damn me if it didn’t fly back again and pretty well clinch itself as being a Horned Grebe. We never did see it on the water because of the high reeds but it could not have been anything else at all. Breed out west, breed in the Iles de la Madeleine but certainly not hereabouts so we count this as good tick indeed.

St-Thimothée never fails us – a good place indeed.