I spent the whole morning looking for Montagu's Harrier, unsuccessfully, and even took in a site where three birds had been seen displaying yesterday! Such is the variable pleasure of birdwatching and it's good to be confronted by the reality of things not always being handed across on a plate!
Having realised that time was creeping on and that it was already early afternoon, I decided to go to Burnham Norton where a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE had been seen yesterday and was being reported as still present. The pools concerned were located within what is the vast National Nature Reserve located along Norfolk's north coast and required a "walk in" towards the sea embankment. The area concerned in winter is wind swept and echoes to the call of geese , wildfowl and wading birds. By contrast was much quieter, although groups of Grey lag Geese ,odd Mallard and a few waders provided a fitting background to what was a sunny summer's day. The bird showed well and displayed its bright plumage to good effect. It was never still and either fed with frantic intensity or bathed and preened with equal verve and energy. Mallard, Gadwall, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Avocet, Redshank also shared the pools and watching over the area in splendid weather was a real tonic.
A mistake on my part in missing the required footpath, and going out of my way along the sea wall by at least a couple of miles, produced little else of note other than excellent views of Stoat and a single Marsh Harrier! Given late afternoon had arrived I began to weave my way southwards towards Thetford where I was to rendezvous with Matthew at Ely railway station in the late evening. Checking in at the Travelodge, doing some shopping for "stores" we'd need over the weekend, 2200 hours soon came around and a successful meet up completed. On our way back we attempted to locate some Quail which had been reported, but were unsuccessful, if indeed we were ever at the right spot! Using a web based GPS system in Norfolk's agricultural countryside, or was it Cambridgeshire, is not without difficulty given the number of tracks, dead ends etc! Midnight soon arrived and we reminded ourselves that little time remained before we embarked on a busy weekend's birding!