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Godwit in flight

The Solent is a well-loved stretch of coast enjoyed by many of us every year, and inspiring us every day.

With its varied and beautiful habitats and wildlife, it’s easy to see why.

Dark-bellied brent geese fly across the Solent

Whether we’re walking the dog, peering through some binoculars or out on a paddleboard, we’re bound to find something that lifts us out of ourselves, raises our spirits or inspires us for a new creative project.

It might be an atmospheric sky, the haunting sound of a curlew’s call, a graceful bird swooping and diving over the sea, or the beautiful plumage patterns displayed across sanderlings’ wings and back.

Roosting sanderling

Taking creative inspiration from nature can be a great way to learn more about coastal birdlife. Look closely at the different species, pick out distinct colours, shapes, and markings.

This can be an enjoyable exercise in mindfulness, which brings home the diversity and visually beauty of our coastal birds. From golden plovers who live up to their name, glimmering in the sunshine, to winter ducks like wigeon and teal with their welcome splash of colour against the grey-green backdrop of the Solent.

Golden plover at sunset

Here are some top tips for an inspirational walk

  • Use all of your senses. What can you see? It might be the sun catching on a breaking wave,  or a couple of oystercatchers skimming across the water. Hear? The sound of the sea being dragged back through pebbles as the next wave builds, a redshank’s short whistling call as it warns others of a nearby predator. Feel? The taste of salt and the feel of the wind at your back. Not only is this a good exercise in mindfulness, it may also give you ideas for mediums to work with, or subjects to focus on.
  • Delight in the details. If you have a pair of binoculars, focus in on a bird or two. What colours are in their feathers? What shapes can you see? Can you identify the species?
  • And always make sure you follow the Bird Aware Solent Coastal Code. It’s very important that our creative endeavours don’t prevent the birds from feeding and resting, so admire them from a distance and be sure to give them plenty of space.

If you find the Solent inspiring, take part in the Bird Aware Art Fest and share your coastal creations with us.