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A diverse range of bird species can be found on the Solent

Results from the Great Coastal Birdwatch reveal a whopping 93 different bird species spotted by members of the public, including 16 birds in the red category for conservation concern.

Bird Aware is enormously grateful for support provided by volunteers who spent time helping us raise awareness of birds that spend the winter on the Solent coastline.

Brent geese took the top spot with almost 2,000 spied by volunteers during the week-long event.

Ten percent of the world’s population of dark-bellied brent geese spend the winter on the Solent: at this time of year as many as 25,000 can be seen across the Solent.

Like many migrating sea birds, they fly thousands of miles from the Arctic to get to our shores.

Brent geese

During the research project members of the public totted up the number of birds they saw in an hour on the coast.

Other coastal birds hitting high numbers include almost 1,800 black-headed gulls, 1,700 Canada geese and around 1,500 oystercatchers. Rarer sightings include white tailed eagles which have recently been reintroduced to the Isle of Wight.

Black-headed gull
Black headed gull summer plumage
Canada goose
Canada goose
Oystercatchers at the beach
White tailed eagle
White tailed eagle

Three of the top ten most frequently sighted birds are in the ‘red-list’ category for conservation concern: dunlin, black-tailed godwits, and lapwing.

Black-tailed godwits at Yarmouth


Top ten coastal birds Numbers Migrates from Conservation status
1. Dark-bellied brent goose 1,923 Arctic Siberia Amber
2. Black-headed gull 1,789 UK, northern Europe and Russia Amber
3. Canada goose 1,679
4. Oystercatcher 1,679 UK, Netherlands Amber
5. Dunlin 1,260 Scandinavia, Russia Red
6. Black-tailed godwit 1,028 Iceland Red
7. Redshank 967 UK, Iceland Amber
8. Lapwing 830 UK, northern Europe Red
9. Wigeon 773 Iceland, Russia, Scandinavia, Ukraine Amber
10. Teal 614 Baltics, west Russia Amber

Thanks to everyone who gave up their time to help us raise awareness of birds that spend time on the Solent coast over the winter months.

To find out more about the birds seen in this year’s Great Coastal Birdwatch, visit our Meet the birds pages.