Bird watching

Colour-ringed Sanderling. Courtesy of Andy Johnson.
Colour-ringed Sanderling. Courtesy of Andy Johnson.
Fellow student Bethany Toon, 17, with Bruce Wetherill, 25, at St Vincent College, Gosport  Picture: Neil Marshall (171028-16)

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TAKE a look at some of the birds in Chichester Harbour today and you might notice something a bit different.

Colourful tags now adorn the legs of some 200 birds as scientists try to halt declining numbers of two threatened species.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy has launched a project to colour-ring sanderling and ringed plovers.

Each bird has a unique colour combination on its leg that will allow scientists to identify it.

Scientists hope to record the movements of the birds, discover whether they return to the harbour and get an idea about survival rates.

There are between 300 and 400 sanderlings in the harbour, but this number can vary. It took around 10 hours for the scientists to catch the birds with nets and ring them. Conservation officer Ed Rowsell said: ‘It’s about trying to discover why these birds are declining.’