Although the days are darker at this time of year, an array of other colours are brought back into our lives. Christmas lights spring up everywhere, as do lillywhite snowdrops that help to add a splash of seasonal colour.

Another splendour of colour that greets us every winter is in the feathered form of ducks, geese and wonderful wading birds.

Each year, birds such as curlew, sanderling and brent goose all head back to our shores to escape freezing Arctic temperatures and feast on the plentiful invertebrates and crustaceans it offers. The birds have travelled from faraway places such as Iceland and Siberia, so it’s no surprise that they are tired and hungry when they get here. Once they’re settled down into their surroundings, it’s vitally important we give them lots of space so they can concentrate on building up their energy reserves. The Rangers of Bird Aware Solent help to highlight internationally protected birds and a new initiative called the Great Solent Birdwatch is helping to do this. The project aims to connect people to their local environment by observing the types and numbers of the birds from a non-intrusive distance. Ranger Charlotte, who is based on the Island, explains: “Our day-to-day lives are so busy that it’s easy not to notice and appreciate the fantastic birds that fly so far to get here. The Great Solent Birdwatch has inspired many people to enjoy what the coast has to offer, starting with the birds”.

Here are a few simple steps we can take when out enjoying the coast to ensure the birds remain undisturbed;

  • Look out for the birds when you are at the beach.
  • Keep your distance if they become alert.
  • Exercise dogs away from the birds.
  • Stay on paths where they exist.
  • For more info visit and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.