Holme Bird Observatory


Ringing has occurred on this site since the 1950ís, the observatory being established in 1962 on 13 acres (5ha) of pine and scrub covered dunes between the shore and the Broadwater at Holme-next-the-Sea. This strategic position is a key migration point allowing the observation study of the various streams of migrants arriving, leaving or passing through the county. The area is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Since 1962, when the Observatory was established, over 50,000 birds have been ringed and more than 300 species have been recorded. The observatory, a member of the UK Bird Observatories Council, continues to operate an active ringing programme throughout the year. Visitors to the observatory may watch the bird ringing when in progress.
Besides birds the reserve has a range of different habitats and a number of Nationally scarce plants grow. There is a regular moth trapping programme and visitors interested in butterflies and dragonflies will not be disappointed.
Perhaps part of the charm of Holme lies in its relative remoteness from everyday life, both spiritually and physically. It is, in effect, an oasis of Corsican pines and scrub set in a wilderness of sand-dunes, the nearest main road being more than a mile away across desolate grazing marshes.
The full time warden takes a census of the birds present each day. Land migrants are recorded together with any sea passage. Numbers present and flight direction are noted. In the spring a full breeding survey of the area is conducted
The reserve has five hides, which overlook a variety of bird habitats and winter feeding stations. In addition there is a dedicated sea-watching hide, the first in Norfolk, for the exclusive use of members.
The Observatory Centre provides an excellent opportunity to catch up on recent bird news as well as the chance to warm up with a cuppa on cold windswept days. For details of today's sightings contact the Observatory on 01485 525406.
Directions: The Observatory is signposted off the A149 (as NOA Migration Watchpoint!) at the western end of Holme village, approx.1 mile east of Old Hunstanton. Follow the signposts out to the Observatory. Plenty of parking is available in the NOA's car park - on right at end of track. Note: If stopped at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust entrance hut Observatory visitors and members do not need to buy a permit or car parking pass for the adjacent NWT reserve - just let them know you are going to the NOA Observatory. Grid Ref:TF717450