BIRD LIFE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
tall reed even more loudly and persistently than the grasshopper-warbler, visits us no more, but the Reed Warbler still slings its cradle between the upright spears in every ditch, and from similar shelter comes the grunting squeal of the Water Rail, whose narrowly compressed body seems made to slip between the tussocks of sedge from which only a good water-dog will dislodge it. The silvery-breasted Grebes still hold their own; we hear of twenty-three in sight at once upon a single broad. Owing to protection afforded by one or two landed proprietors, ducks such as the Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Duck, breed in Norfolk in much larger numbers and greater variety at the present day than was the case fifty years ago. In one district it is stated that the Garganey nests even more commonly than the Teal. There is still the buzzing of multitudinous Snipe and the piping of unnumbered Redshanks. The blue-grey Montagu's Harrier, with his darker "ring-tail" mate, still at least attempts to nest annually. The Short-eared Owl lays its eggs upon a heap of cut reeds, and the Kestrel, in the absence of trees, has been known to nest upon the ground in the middle of the fen. Thus there is still left no small residue of the wild life of the waterside.
Let us leave the broad reach of Bure or Yare, where the wherrymen "quant" toilsomely, and push our punt up this narrow side-stream between the tall and