As the temperature gets milder, birds that have been a common sight on our shores, such as oystercatcher, ringed plover and curlew, fly off to more northerly destinations such as Scandinavia and Siberia to start their breeding season.

The number and variety of coastal birds that visit the Solent is truly impressive. Up to 125,000 birds migrate here every year, each with their own characteristics that make them an important element of our beautiful coastline.

This year on the Isle of Wight, we have had good numbers of Sanderling at Ryde and Seaview. Newtown has seen large numbers of brent geese. Turnstones have been regular visitors to Thorness Bay and on the Western Yar, black-tailed godwits, teal and wigeon have frequented habitually.

On the mainland, Lepe has received large flocks of turnstones. Hamble-Le-Rice has been a popular place to see brent geese. Lapwings have enjoyed the environment of Fishbourne, near Chichester. Prinstead near Southbourne, has been home to swathes of avocet and Warsash has also seen good numbers of black-tailed godwit.

Bird Aware Solent raises awareness of the coastal birds that visit here for the winter and the importance of giving them space to feed and rest. The partnership is formed of Solent authorities stretching from the New Forest all the way to Chichester and the north coast of the Isle of Wight. It is also supported by Natural England - the Government's environment adviser, the RSPB , Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Trust.

Date: 20 March 2019 - issued by Bird Aware Solent