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Turnstones roosting

This year’s Great Coastal Birdwatch kicks off on Saturday 14 October and we’re asking everyone who lives near our beautiful coastline to take part.

Now in its fifth year, the fortnight-long birdwatch celebrates the autumn arrival of birds that spend the colder months on the Solent coast.

These feathered migrants travel extraordinary distances to get to the mudflats and saltmarshes along the coastline every year. Tiny sanderlings (below left), for example, fly thousands of miles from Arctic Siberia and Greenland while turnstones (below right) arrive from Northern Greenland, Canada and Lapland.

Sanderling roosting at the beach
Five turnstones roosting on a groin

The annual birdwatch helps raise awareness of the wealth of wildlife on our doorstep and gives Bird Aware valuable data on birds that spend the winter here.

Anyone who wants to take part in this year’s birdwatch needs to spend up to an hour on the Solent coast between Saturday 14 October and Sunday 29 October, counting how many different species they see. It’s free to take part with an information pack available to download from our Great Coastal Birdwatch pages.

Ranger Tony talks to members of the public
Ranger Tony talks to a member of the public

You can report your findings using our special online form. We’re also encouraging people to avoid disturbing wildlife during their birdwatching stint.

Last year an impressive total of 93 species were spotted by members of the public including white-tailed eagles which have recently been reintroduced to the area.

Three of the top ten most frequently sighted birds in last year’s study are currently on the ‘red-list’ category for conservation concern: dunlins, black-tailed godwits, and lapwings.

Find out more on our Great Coastal Birdwatch information pages.