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Golden plovers roosting on the saltmarsh

Wading birds

Often referred to as waders, huge numbers of these birds arrive on our Solent coastline in the Autumn and spend the Winter with us before migrating back up to the Arctic in the Spring. They are usually seen on the waters edge, wading (as their name suggests) into the shallow waters with their long legs and searching with their beaks for animals who live in the mud and sand below.

Avocet walking through the water

Avocet

I am easily recognised by my upturned bill which I use to feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans, and worms by sweeping it side-to-side through the water.

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Bar-tailed godwit

You will see me in large, often noisy, flocks. We feed by making fast probing movements in the mud and sometimes it looks like we do not stop walking whilst we do this. We like to eat marine worms and molluscs. When we fly in to roost we roll and twist through the sky.

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Black-tailed godwit

We are fairly common around the Solent with our numbers in the thousands, making it an area of both international and national importance for us. We particularly like the New Forest coast and the muddy harbours of Porsmouth, Langstone and Chichester.

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Curlew

We are a common winter visitor to the Solent, there are around 2000 of us at any one time. Winter numbers are relatively stable, however, our breeding numbers are declining.

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Dunlin

I come to the Solent to spend the winter here every year from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia. Other Dunlin just pass through during their spring and autumn migrations, using the Solent coast as a pit-stop to rest and refuel.

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Golden plover on a rock by the sea

Golden plover

In flight our golden feathers shimmer in the sunlight. We form large flocks and will often stand upright and run in short bursts. We feed on worms, beetles and insects.

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Greenshank

I am a less common relative of the redshank but with grey-green legs instead of red! I appear taller than my common cousin with long slender legs and I have a dark grey back and a slightly upturned bill.

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Grey plover

In winter my plumage is rather dull and grey, but in summer I am rather splendid with black and silver spangled wings and a black front all the way Grey plover summer from my face to my tail.

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Knot walking in the water

Knot

In winter my coat is grey and white which is a huge change from my brick red summer coat. My head is quite small compared to my body size.

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Lapwing

Lapwing

I am a handsome bird (if I do say so myself!) with an elegant black crest on my head. At a distance I appear black and white, but my back has a beautiful green and purple sheen to it.

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Oystercatcher on the sand

Oystercatcher

Some of us may migrate here for the winter from Norway and some of my friends come from Iceland and the Faroe Islands. You will also see many oystercatchers who stay here year round.

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Redshank

I am known as the ‘warden of the marshes’ because I’m often the first and one of the loudest birds to warn other species when there is a predator about, I have a high-pitched short whistling call which I repeat over and over again.

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Ringed plover

My feathers are a light brown on top which means I am very well camouflaged from aerial predators, this also means I’m hard for people to spot, watch out for me please. I’m much smaller than other plovers like the Grey Plover and the Lapwing.

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Sanderling

You can find me scampering amongst the waves looking for marine worms, fish and even tiny jellyfish. I am silvery and white, so you can spot me twinkling along the beach, but watch out as I can just look like sea foam!

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Turnstone

At high tide you will see us roosting on harbour walls, jetties and boats. We are resting up and waiting for the tide to go back out so we can carry on eating!

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