Posted on 22 Aug 2005
One of the most interesting features of the Solent waters is its diverse bird population. This makes the Solent important too for birds and important to people who wish to study or watch them.
The purpose of this brief resume is to give non-specialist ornithologists a taste of what can be seen. I decided to define the area as the waters embraced by the shoreline, including estuaries and harbours, and the area of land up to 200 yards inshore, all from Selsey Bill in Sussex to the Needles on the IOW in Hampshire. In order to keep my list up to date I used, as my information source, the Hampshire Ornithological Society Quarterly Reports from April 2002 to April 2003.
The key areas for seeing birds in the Solent are: Eling to Lepe; Farlington Marsh and Langstone Harbour; Lymington to Hurst; Needs Ore; Newtown Creek on the IOW; Titchfield Haven and Hillhead.
The list does include some rare passing migrants, because in an area like the Solent, many migrating birds fly through, particularly in the spring and autumn. Consequently the interested bird watcher should be prepared for anything.
Solent water birds
Arctic Skua; Arctic Tern; Fulmar; Avocet; Balearic Shearwater; Bar Tailed Godwit; Barnacle Goose; Bewick’s Swan; Black Headed Gull; Black Necked Grebe; Black Tailed Godwit; Black Tern; Brent Goose; Common Gull; Common Sandpiper; Common Scoter; Common Tern; Cormorant; Curlew; Curlew Sandpiper; Dunlin; Eider Duck; Gannet; Garganey; Golden Plover; Goldeneye; Great Crested Grebe; Great Northern Diver; Greater Black Backed Gull; Green Sandpiper; Greenshank; Grey Lag Goose; Grey Phalarope; Grey Plover; Guillemot; Herring Gull; Kittiwake; Knot; Lapwing; Little Egret; Little Grebe; Little Gull; Little Ringed Plover; Little Stint; Little Tern; Long Tailed Duck; Mallard; Mandarin Duck; Manx Shearwater; Mediterranean Gull; Merganser; Oyster Catcher; Pectoral Sandpiper; Pintail; Pochard; Razorbill; Red Necked Grebe; Red Necked Phalarope; Red Throated Diver; Ringed Plover; Roseate Tern; Ruddy Duck; Raven; Ruff; Sanderling; Sandwich Tern; Scaup; Shag; Shoveler; Slavonian Grebe; Shellduck; Snipe; Sooty Shearwater; Spoonbill; Spotted Redshank; Storm Petrel; Teal; Temminck’s Stint; Tufted Duck; Turnstone; Velvet Scoter; Whimbrel; White Front Goose; Widgeon; Wood Sandpiper; Yellow Legged Gull.
Solent land birds
Barn Owl; Bearded Tit; Bittern; Cettis Warbler; Common Buzzard; Cuckoo; Dartford Warbler; Grasshopper Warbler; Grey Wagtail; Hobby; Honey Buzzard; Hoopoe; Kingfisher; Marsh Harrier; Merlin; Montague’s Harrier; Nightingale; Osprey; Peregrine; Pied Flycatcher; Pied Wagtail; Red Backed Shrike; Redstart; Reed Warbler; Rock Pippit; Rough Legged Buzzard; Sedge Warbler; Short Eared Owl; Stonechat; Swift; Turtle Dove; Water Rail; Wheatear; Whinchat; White Stork; Whitethroat; Yellow Wagtail.
It can be seen from these lists that the Solent is a very rich area for bird watching. It also underlines the importance of the area in environmental and conservation terms, one of the perspectives that the Solent Protection Society aims to monitor and protect.
Dr. Chris Willard