June 19 2013 Latest news:
Monday, March 11, 2013
A Norfolk bird observatory has marked its 50th birthday by releasing a video documenting a year in its life.
The bird observatory opened at Holme, near Hunstanton, in 1962.
So when film-maker Ken Lawson approached Norfolk Ornithologists’ Association (NOA) to make a film about the centre’s work, it seemed the perfect time.
“We were celebrating our 50th anniversary and one of our members is a very good amateur film-maker,” said NOA warden Sophie Barker.
“He volunteered to make this film and donated his time and efforts towards the project and worked with us to make it. We decided to make the film about a typical year at the observatory, showing you the work we do. It’s trying to give you a feel of the observatory in the different seasons.
“The film is for people who have an interest in wildlife and local wildlife, as well as bird migration.”
The DVD, called Holme Bird Observatory: A Year, shows the scientific work carried out at the observatory throughout the seasons, including the tracking of migrating birds and bird ringing, as well as showing the general pattern of wildlife on the reserve.
“The most important basic thing we do is take a bird census each day. We count and record the birds which pass the observatory. If the weather allows us to, we ring them,” said Miss Barker, who has worked at the observatory for 12 years.
“It’s a way of life more than a 9 to 5 job. At spring and autumn migrations you must be here all the time as you don’t know when something exciting will happen. What is important about this observatory is that birds coming down from Scandinavia are more likely to clip the east coast and so we are more likely to see them.”
Although it is sometimes hard to tell if a bird is an old friend, some birds will keep returning to the same site year on year.
“Reed warblers are very site loyal. We’ve had one that was seven years old, which means it had crossed the Sahara 14 times.”
Mr Lawson said: “Prior to making the film about them I made a film about various birding sites in Norfolk. I realised that I was dealing with somewhere that is different to everywhere else. Although they are open to visitors and there are hides and so on, there is a lot of scientific work.”
The site is the only accredited bird observatory in Norfolk and since it was founded in 1962 more than 50,000 birds have been ringed and more than 300 species have been recorded.
The DVD, Holme Bird Observatory: A Year, costs £14.99 and is available by post. Order forms can be found at www.noa.org.uk and cheques should be made payable to NOA.