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January 2021 - ​​​​​​​Local seabird loves the Solent!

It is often remarked that we humans are creatures of habit, but have you ever considered this about the natural world?  One such animal that won't be seen anywhere else, but Weston Shore, near Southampton, is a wading bird called an oystercatcher.

Back in March 2008, oystercatcher FP45541 was tagged with a small harmless leg ring so scientists can study its movements.  Now after 13 years, results have shown that it has stayed loyal to Solent shores all this time.  So far, there have been no recorded sightings of it in other places around the UK or overseas, but it has been sighted at Weston Shore every year since it was ringed.

The Solent is a fantastic place for seabirds as it offers food-rich mudflats and beaches for birds, like the oystercatcher, to feed and rest.  Oystercatchers are distinctive black and white birds that can live up to 30 years of age and we can help them to stay healthy.  Bird Aware Solent is a local partnership of conservation groups and Solent councils that aims to reduce disturbance to coastal birds, and the organisation says that we can all make a difference simply by keeping our distance from the birds, exercising dogs away from them, and sticking to the paths.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH), which oversees Bird Aware remarks, 'The different birds that travel to the Solent help to make it a unique and special place. We must do all we can to ensure future generations will enjoy them too.'

The Solent is also graced by an array of other winged visitors, such as dark-bellied brent geese, curlew, and sanderling.  At this time of year, the coastline lights up with birds that have made gruelling journeys from places like Scandinavia, Greenland, and Siberia. When you next visit your local beach, keep a lookout for our feathered friends and give them plenty of space to feed and rest and let's give birds like oystercatcher FP45541 every chance to stay loyal to the Solent!

ENDS