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Sunday, 25 August 2019

Holme Bird Observatory!

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth


I woke up at 5.24am precisely! Left the house by 6.30am and headed to Holme. There was no traffic yet, fabulous journey! Started at Hunstanton to look for migrants in the sycamore trees next the large car park on the sea front, but nothing at all seen here. Cruised along the cliff top and headed for Holme Reserves.

Drove into the village car park opposite the toilet block to look for birds. The scrub next to the kiosk is an excellent spot for migrants. But, today this wasn't to be, as there were several cars with music playing and youths parked up on the grass – a barbecue had been used and from the scene and beer cans and other items left, it was fairly obviously they had been there last night and were shortly leaving. They stared at me with my binoculars and camera – after all, its very unusual to see a birder in an area that is part of an SSSI site and nature reserves!!!

Along the Firs Road I saw several Whitethroats flitting around by the 5-bar gate. Parked up on the NOA car park at around 8am. Had a lovely time here before it got really hot. Saw 3 Pied Flycatchers around the back of the pine trees, by the sea-watching hide. It was alive here with birds! Several Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a Garden Warbler, Whitethroats, several Goldcrests, Hedge Sparrow, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and a Whimbrel flew over.
Holme Bird Observatory

At the observatory, Sophie was busy ringing birds, one of which was a Garden Warbler. 8 Whimbrel flew over and there was a pair of Stonechats flitting around Hide 8 by the Broadwater. I was chatting to 'Cat', (who is volunteer with the NOA) about the fact that I had not seen a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth yet this year – she replied 'the last one I saw was......' As she said this, one appeared on the globular buddleia!! This was the star of the day! Spent ages trying to photograph this wonderful moth, but they hardly spend more than a couple of seconds at each flower! Met a wonderful elderly gentleman with his grandson, who showed me some early NOA news bulletins he had brought down to (presumably) show Sophie – he remembered my dear father well from little stories he was telling me. Mark and Tracey B. were also here along with Steve N. Stayed here far too long in the heat!

Went for my lunch at The Firs NWT and was shocked to see how many cars had managed to squeeze into both the NWT and NOA car parks – I had never seen it this packed out ever! I managed to get a table in the shade, which was a miracle and then shared it with another couple of birders, who I got chatting to about the 'good old days' on the reserves. It was now far too hot to do anything but leave.

I had been sandwiched in between 2 4x4's on the car park and just about managed to reverse out of my little space! There were cars all the way along the road between the 5-bar gate and the pay hut and I was shocked to see that Gary (NWT warden) and collegue were having to man the top of the Firs Road with a barrier and walky talkies. How stressful for them to have to ring the Firs reception every time a car turned up at the barrier (which seemed like every few seconds) to see if a car had left the car parks, in order to let another car through the barrier! I have never seen anything like this in all my years of being here. What a dreadful job for reserve staff to have to do. Holidaymakers don't like keeping to the 15mph signs either, a sports car travelling behind me was not happy at all, as I was driving at just below this speed. Everyone that arrives here, brings picnic baskets and their own food. The odd one of two might buy an ice-cream or a drink – its not financially worth all the hassle for the Wardens, for the environment and the damage to the already churned up road. Maybe they should increase the parking cost significantly! I think its dreadful that NWT and NOA members can not park on the car parks that they pay membership for if they were to turn up a bit too late. God forbid if a mega turned up – what would happen then? It would be a serious issue!

I escaped all this craziness and went to check our family home. I hadn't been here for two weeks. It was wonderfully peaceful here. I found two Chiffchaffs in the garden, which was nice. Filled all the bird baths up and picked some brambly apples from the trees at the end of the garden. Tons of butterflies on mother's buddleias in the front garden: Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Painted Ladies, Commas and Bumble and Honey Bees. The grape vine in the greenhouse has produced less grapes than previous years, but there are a few bunches of green grapes (still to turn red). Sat on the front door step in the shade and reminisced of my childhood days here.

Left mid afternoon to avoid what was obviously going to be massive queues of traffic later on. Chilled at home and later carried out my usual chores of changing all the bird baths, topping up bird food and watering all the plants. At work all day tomorrow, which isn't going to be funny at all in this heatwave!

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