The Norfolk Ornithologists’ Association

Norfolk Ornithologists Association - NOA

Who We Are

The NOA is a conservation organisation dedicated to the scientific study of birds and other wildlife, with four visitor reserves in Norfolk. We collect information which helps us to monitor and understand how birds and wildlife are coping year to year. Our work also enables people to encounter wildlife in a friendly and personal way. The results of the Association’s work are published yearly in its annual reports.

Peter Clark

History of the NOA

Peter Clarke was the founder of both Holme Bird Observatory and the NOA, giving over 33 years’ service to the Association. He was a pioneering ornithologist in Norfolk, who saw the potential of the site as early as the mid 1950’s and realised it would be a wonderful place from which to study migration. Peter became the face of the NOA for its members and visitors, and during his career the Association grew, with Peter and his committee overseeing the purchase of other reserves including Walsey Hills and Redwell Marsh. He died in 2017 and is commemorated on the wall of the Observatory building at Holme.


Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker comes from a birdwatching family and visited Holme regularly from childhood. She studied at Hartpury College graduating with degree in Equine Science in 1997 and, following a back injury, trained as a ringer full time at HBO from the spring of 2001. She was assistant warden until 2011 when she was promoted to the role of warden. As well as bird surveys and ringing Sophie also specialises in moths and caterpillars and making tea and coffee!

Shannon Clifford grew up in Scotland before relocating to Norfolk and has been interested in animals since being little, and subsequently studied Environmental Science and Sustainability at the University of Glasgow. After this, Shannon worked within an Ecological Consultancy for a few years and volunteered with several conservation charities, including beginning her bird ringing training in 2018. She then went on to work with the RSPB as a Research Assistant working on the Seabird Census in the Scottish Highlands, before starting a Master’s in Ecology and Environmental Biology, researching heat stress in Gannet chicks on Bass Rock. Shannon has a general interest in nature and enjoys identifying insects and fungi! Shannon joined the NOA in autumn 2023 as an Assistant Warden mostly based at Walsey Hills or Hempton Marsh.

Shannon Clifford


Gary Elton

Gary Elton has had a life-long interest in birds, and spent time in the engineering industry before relocating to Norfolk in 2000. Gary’s role at the observatory is part-time, his presence largely fitting in among his busy schedule of tour guiding and off-shore surveying work. Gary is a BTO ringing licence holder with a Trainer endorsement, and his ringing work is focussed on the Observatory but also the NOA’s CES project at Pensthorpe.

Officers and Trustees

Vice Presidents:
Professor Fred Cooke, CM (Former President AOU).
Professor Ian Newton, OBE FRS FRSE.

Dr Steve Newman, MA MSc PhD (Chairman),
Peter Bangs BA
Jenny Barker, BA, LGSM.
Lucy Ferrer
Dr Keith Fox, BA MSc PhD.
David Gamble FCA (Treasurer)
Michael Rae, MSc.
Roger Skeen.
David Agombar


Our members are drawn from across the UK and Ireland, Europe and North America. Members range from wildlife scientists through to holiday visitors. Many members enjoy being able to access the beach and NOA hides between dawn and dusk, and all are welcome to enjoy seeing bird ringing and moth trapping take place. Our members are encouraged to get involved in wildlife monitoring, and they make a vital contribution to the Association’s work.