Winter at Holme Bird Observatory (please click for clip)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Waxwings Holme 6th December

With attention focused on the sea in the morning, finding Waxwings around the car park was a pleasant surprise for the afternoon. 1 individual posed on the wires briefly, before flying off in the direction of the Firs and the Obs and being joined by a further individual in flight. 5 minutes later either another Waxwing, or 1 of the original 2 birds, landed on the same stretch of wires before flying off in the same direction. At least 6 Waxwings seen in Snettisham Coastal Park the following morning so all part of a fresh influx?
Photo Ray Roche

Monday, 1 December 2008

Firecrest retrapped Holme NOA 28th November

Surprising what you find when you open the nets , not expecting to catch too much ........

Photo Ray Roche

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Great Grey Shrike and Stonechats 7th to 11th November

Pair of Stonechats. Pictures taken in the dunes immediately behind the Observatory.

Great Grey Shrike. 7th-8th November. Last seen heading out to the saltmarsh and Thornham Harbour. Pictures taken in very dull and windy conditions.

Pictures Ray Roche

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Olive-backed Pipit

This well-marked OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT was a superb find by visiting birder N. Brooks at 4:00pm on the 31st October. Bettered only by the 1st year female BLACK-THROATED THRUSH (see descripion from one of the finders Chris Mills here) in rarity value within the recording area during this exceptional late autumn fall, it was only present for c. 2 minutes in brambles underneath the pines just north of the NOA observatory before being flushed by two dogs and sadly couldn't be relocated. Picture © N. Brooks. Words by Connor D. Rand

Saturday, 1 November 2008


The first Firecrest of the autumn was trapped today (1st November)

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Pallas's Warblers

One of two PALLAS'S WARBLERS trapped and ringed at the NOA observatory on the morning of the 30th October, the 7th and 8th to be ringed at the observatory. Both birds were trapped and ringed down the east bank, with the second having a brighter supercillium and wing-bars. In between releasing the two birds one (presumed to be the second bird) was noted in the field, in the sycamore by the observatory. Later on in the day a single Pallas's Warbler was showing well in the corner of the NWT carpark and it may have been yet another new individual, as it was reported to have perhaps been unringed. With good numbers of grounded migrants, including a Barred Warbler around the NOA reserve, and steady overhead passage, including a superb count of 14329 Starlings, it was a superb autumn day, probably the best of the whole year so far. For full sightings please see here. Pictures © J.Andrews (top) and © Connor D. Rand. Words by Connor D. Rand

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Barnacle Goose

Another shot of the Barnacle Goose located with the Pink-footed Geese on the afternoon of the 11th October. A true Holme scarcity, being much rarer than the likes of Yellow-browed Warbler. Incredibly my 3rd in 6 days (having only had 2 birds in the 7 years prior to this!) in what has been a well above average autumn for this species at the observatory. Photos and words © Connor D. Rand

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Tree Sparrow, Barnacle Goose and another Godwit on Redwell Marsh

Tree Sparrow, 14th October perched on the wires by the five-bar gate. A bonus bird after enjoying superb views of Short Eared Owl hunting the marsh before dropping into the saltmarsh.

With Barnacle Geese recorded on several dates on recent seawatches, the flocks of Pink-Footed Geese on the marsh are worth checking out.
Barnacle Goose 11th October Holme on the marsh. 1 of several, amongst the Pink-footed Geese.

Black Tailed Godwit 10th October on Redwell Marsh. 1 of a party of 4.

Photos by (and ©) Ray Roche

Monday, 22 September 2008

Thrush Nightingale retrapped 16 September

A dawn start at the Obs. with the mist shrouding the broadwater and the nets open ....
Thrush Nightingale Retrapped

Redstart. Part of an influx of Redstarts and Pied and Spotted Flycatchers. A Wryneck was in the Dunes, a short Eared Owl flew high over holme Marsh, mobbed by Jackdaws, and a Curlew Sandpiper was on the NWT PoolsA Privet Hawk Moth Caterpilar in the dunes
Pkotos Ray Roche

Recent Pictures

Short-eared Owl hunting the dunes (top) and Spotted Flycatcher having been ringed (below), both recent pictures from the reserve. Photos by Jed Andrews.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Thrush Nightingale 14th September

With plenty Redstarts, as well as Spotted and Pied Flycatchers around the Observatory all day the possibility of something special landing in one of the nets turned out not to be wishful thinking !
Photos Ray Roche


This superb Redstart was trapped and ringed on the 14th September 2008, part of a small fall of migrants which included a THRUSH NIGHTINGALE (pics to follow), as well as good numbers of commoner species such as Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts. Other highlights on this productive weekend included 1 Honey Buzzard east on the 13th, with another 2 Honey Buzzards south on the 14th. Photos and text by Connor D. Rand.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Alpine Swift 9th September

This superb ALPINE SWIFT hawked insects over the pines behind the NOA observatory from 3:00pm-7:45pm on 9th September 2008. Top photo © Penny Clarke, bottom photo © Jed Andrews.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

6 September.Osprey Thornham Harbour and an awesome days seawatching

Osprey, digiscoped at hopelessly long distance from the other side of Thornham harbour !!!! Saturday's seawatching was rudely interrupted by news of an Osprey fishing over Thornham Harbour. Initially located on the ground it then proceeded to put on a superb flying display over the harbour and marsh. The sea had offerd up an early autumn Red Throated Diver as well as a single Great Skua amongst a respectable tally of Arctic Skuas, Terns and Gannets. On Sunday the floodgates opened....... more Arctic Skuas, and with over 100 Great Skuas moving west. Not for the first time while seawatching from the dunes, these sometimes came directly overhead, drifting high over the dunes and the beach. The Skua prize of the day was a juvenile Long Tailed Skua passing close along the shoreline, making a brief pass at a Tern, before flying underneath a Great Skua. An amazing view, and a nice opportunity to contrast the 2 birds... In spite of the early morning mist and rain Manx Shearwaters were picked up shearing the waves further out, and a lone Black Tern flew west, not easy to pick out against a dull sky and sea. A juvenile Sabines Gull drifted into the mist early on, and news of more loitering offshore at Tichwell meant much scanning of horizons in anticipation, picking up an airborne Red Throted Diver and more Skuas, Terns and Gannets along the way .... an amazing few hours .... there really is no place like Holme to be beside the sea !!!! words and photo Ray Roche

Thursday, 28 August 2008

26th August - Juvenile Arctic Skua in front of the Hide - Redwell strikes again !!!

The pictures really don't do the bird justice !! One minute the water held a few ducks generally milling about , the next we were treated to the Skua bobbing about on the waves - sneaking in unseen and unanounced !! It sat on the water, went up, flew around a bit, and came back to the water for some time, before flying again and vanishing to the north ! Shame about the light for the camera.

Spotted Redshank 18th August.

Spotted Redshank 23rd August, 1of 2 regularly appearing close to the hide over recent days.

Wood Sandpiper lingering nicely on the marsh ......

Meanwhile, crawling about at the lower level .... Cute ?

Photos by Ray Roche.