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Local partnership unveils unique illustrated panel for Fishbourne visitors

December 2021

A new information panel, illustrated by wildlife artist Mike Hughes, has been installed at Fishbourne beach on the Isle of Wight by Bird Aware Solent and Fishbourne Parish Council.

The sign is designed to raise awareness of the important wildlife that makes its home on this stretch of coastline.

Fishbourne beach is a nationally important location for different species of birds, including dark-bellied brent geese, curlew and redshank, particularly over the wintertime.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire, the body that oversees Bird Aware, said: ‘This new interpretation panel boosts visitors’ appreciation of the unique birdlife sharing our beautiful coastline. It shows us what we can do to help these birds thrive by giving them the space they need to feed and rest’.

The sign has been installed at the entrance to the beach at Fishbourne and includes an illustration of the view from the beach, looking towards Ryde Pier and the mainland including the Spinnaker Tower in the distance.

Illustrations feature the coastal birds that can be seen on the beach, often after long migratory journeys. Dark-bellied brent geese fly thousands of miles to the area from Arctic Siberia every year.

The Isle of Wight and the Solent are of world-wide importance for birds. Thousands migrate to the area every year including 10 percent of the global population of dark-bellied brent geese.

Birds come to the region for the abundance of food that lives in our coastal mudflats. They need to feed and rest without being disturbed so they can fly back to their summer breeding grounds.

The survival of these birds is thanks to the efforts of people looking out for them, moving further away if they seem to become alert, keeping dogs alongside them and following requests on signs.

Fishbourne Parish Council and Ranger Charlotte (right) unveil new illustrated panel