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Birds of a Feather, Flock Together

When news of the reintroduction of white-tailed eagles to the Isle of Wight was first released it captured the imagination of alot of people.  At a wingspan of up to 8ft it's hardly surprising!  However, the Solent also plays host to a whole range of other bird species.  Not many of them are half as big as the eagle, but all have their uniqueness, and some have travelled thousands of miles to get here!

A feathered visitor we took pleasure in observing from a distance recently was a grey phalarope. These little water birds are about the size of a starling and residents of the UK usually only get to see a few hundred each year as they spend most of their lives at sea.  They may not look particularly remarkable, but we think they are outstanding!  Here's the picture we took.

A large bird that has been spotted across the Solent is the Spoonbill.  These long-legged wading birds were persecuted from the UK in the 17th century and have only recently started to return to our shores from places like West Africa and Portugal.  After a break of 3 centuries, we live in lucky times!  Take a look at our video of their unique feeding style captured on the Isle of Wight.

A very cute visitor showed up at Hill Head near Fareham recently.  The snow bunting (main picture) are another bird that return to our shores in winter to make the most of their preferred diet of insects and seeds. These large buntings have striking white plumages that during autumn develops some sandy coloured patches.

We also receive the charismatic short-eared owl.  These medium sized owls offer us the opportunity to see owls during the day as they dance and dazzle over grassland and saltmarshes hunting for small mammals.  Many of these visitors travel from northerly places such as Siberia and Russia, but some spend the whole year here. See pictures and info.

As an organisation we have an interest in all types of birds and particularly the ducks, geese and wading birds that you can see here. Keep an eye out for birds and if you would like any help to identify them, send your pictures and descriptions to info@birdaware.org and we'll do our best to name them.