Holme Bird Observatory (Header)

This is a polite reminder to all our members that our subscription rates have increased from 1st January. If you pay by standing order and have not yet done so, please amend your standing order to the new rate. More details can be found here. We are small charity reliant on the generosity of our supporters through membership subscriptions and donations. Why not become a member. For a minimum of £25 you can get all the benefits of being a member of the NOA. Just click the button on the right below. Or, if you would like to support us with a donation, it is very easy to do through our portal at VirginMoneyGiving. Just click the button on the right to go to our dedicated page. Thank you.


We are delighted to announce that we will be welcoming visitors back to Holme Bird Observatory from Monday 13th July 2020, and we are very much looking forward to seeing you once again. Thank you to all our members and visitors for your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Please be aware that we are not yet able to restore full access.

Some restrictions must continue and these are as follows: Hempton Marsh and Walsey Hills reserves will be re-opening to visitors on 13th July, but hides on these reserves will remain closed. At Holme the following hides will remain closed for the time being: Redwell Marsh hide, Car Park hide, Sea-watching hide, Dell hide and Broadwater hide. The Bus-Stop, Dowson and Richardson hides will be accessible to one household at a time, and the viewing platform and seating area outside the cordon will be available as well, with social distancing in place. The Observatory building will also remain closed to visitors, but a member of staff will be able to come out to meet you. We do regret that for now visitors will not be able to empty moth traps with our staff, but we will retain specimens of special interest for visitors to view at a safe distance. We will continue to charge day permit fees.

We are very sorry not to offer a fuller visitor experience just yet, but these measures are for everyone's safety and we do appreciate your understanding. We will continue to review hide closures, and will post any changes on our website.


A huge thank you to everyone involved in our new event 'Go Wild at Drove' which took place at Drove Orchards on Saturday. The event was a great success and attracted NOA members and the general public throughout the day.

Beautiful weather helped to make this a great day, with a very interesting tour of the orchards led by owner Andrew Jamieson, and two wildlife walks led by Estate Manager Sue Hall, and NOA Warden Sophie Barker.

The NOA welcomed visitors to displays about moths and caterpillars, feathers and nests, ringing and migration, and a slideshow of the wildlife to be found on the estate was running throughout the day.

Two moth traps were run in the reedbeds on the north side of the estate, producing a superb catch of moths. A total of 71 species were recorded including Webb's, Brown-veined, Fen and Silky Wainscots, Saltmarsh Plume, Oak Hook-tip, Pine Hawk Moth, White Satin Moth and Garden Tiger to name just a few.

Bird highlights included over 2000 gulls flocking over the south side of the marshes during the afternoon to feed on hatching insects, a Peregrine which came up to join them, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Kestrel out over the marsh, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker and Jay around the orchards, and at least 20 Swallows around the farm shop.

Eleven species of butterflies were also recorded including Large and Small Skipper, Ringlet, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and Common Blue. Common and Ruddy Darter dragonflies were also plentiful, with Southern Hawker also seen.

The wildlife walks also drew attention to the varied and valuable habitats on the estate, much of which is in Higher Level Stewardship, and features a wonderful array of different trees, shrubs and wild flowers. One of the highlights was flowering Grass Vetch found on the route of the walk, and extensive patches of Fleabane which attracted lots of butterflies.

On the second wildlife walk a young Swift which had become stranded on the ground was rescued and later taken to the RSPCA wildlife hospital at East Winch. Staff there confirmed the bird was not injured and needed feeding for about another week, then it should be fit for release, and the bird was left in their care.

The NOA would like to thank Drove Orchards for making this event possible, for all their support in organising and running the event. And thank you to everyone who came to take part, it really was a special day. See you next year!