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New waymarkers help Hayling Island birds get a well-earned rest

November 2022

New signs along the beachside path at Gunner Point on Hayling Island are helping local birds rest and recover after gruelling migratory journeys.

Passers-by are being requested to ‘Respect the nap’ at this vital roosting spot for protected birds. The signs, which have been installed by Bird Aware Solent, also ask people to follow the Bird Aware Coastal Code: to look out for birds and move further away if they become alert; keeping any dogs alongside them.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire, the body that oversees Bird Aware, said: ‘These new signs help to raise awareness of the coastal birds that visit our shores in the winter. By encouraging people to give these birds the space they need, we’ll help them thrive in the future.’

The shingle beach, part of the Sinah Common Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is a popular location for birds such as ringed plover, dunlin and sanderling. These migratory birds spend the winter on the Solent coastline, travelling here from as far away as Greenland and Arctic Siberia.

The number of these wading birds has been declining in recent years with the downturn in dunlins a particular cause for worry. This species was recently red listed for conservation concern.

During the summer months a portion of the beach is protected as part of the Hayling Island Ringed Plover Project. This aims to reduce disturbance for coastal birds who make their nests on the ground.

In the winter the area becomes an important place for birds to roost when the tide is too high for them to feed.

Bird Aware Solent works on coastlines around the New Forest, Southampton Water, Portsmouth, Chichester and Langstone Harbours and the northern coast of the Isle of Wight. It is formed of a partnership of 19 different local authorities and wildlife organisations.

Gunner Point signs help birds get a well-earned rest