Network of Strategic Sites

Study now underway!

Project website live at

This project aims to understand the importance of the network of high tide roost sites and inland feeding areas within the Solent for the conservation of the overwintering populations of birds, and how best to maintain and enhance the network of sites.

Our aim is to provide an environment where birds continue to flourish while continuing to provide flood and coastal defense. This study will help guide policy makers and engineers in the future and it is hoped that this work will be an example of best practice nationally.

Why study the network of roosting and wading sites?

The mudflats of our harbours and estuaries support internationally significant overwintering populations of waders and wildfowl, which migrate to the Solent to feed on the rich mudflats, grassland and even agricultural fields. The mudflats are covered twice per day by the tide, at high tide wader species will congregate (sometimes in their thousands) on higher areas known as roosts. Some species of waders, ducks and geese will also feed on inland area of grassland including playing fields and farmer’s crops. It is important that suitable roosts are located near to feeding areas and that a network of roosts and feeding areas are available for birds to use. This study will aim to identify the importance of these roosts individually and as part of the wider network.

As well as understanding the importance of these sites this study will look for mitigation opportunities and will also explore how these sites could be improved through better management. We will consider ways of creating high tide roost sites, such as the construction of shingle banks within harbours, or floating pontoons, which would always be available to birds to roost during the highest of tides.

How can I get involved and take part?

The Solent is a large area so we are looking for volunteers to help us by monitoring particular sites. Contact for more information and allocation of sites.

We would like you to visit your sites at least once a week between 1st September 2015 and 1st April 2016 and record all wading birds and wildfowl present there. If nothing is present we would still like to know!

What skills are required?

You don't need to be an expert to participate but it would help if you can identify common species by sight and sound. There will be an app available to aid identification for beginners and to submit results, as well as a website.

How will my results be used?

The results will help us to understand the importance of the sites in the Solent. All bird data will be publicly available for use in future projects.


For up to date information from the project team check out the project blog or follow the project twitter account @SolentBirds.


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