These beautiful winged visitors get a warm welcome in the Solent – Zella Compton

Godwits head to the Solent in the winter for its balmier climate
Godwits head to the Solent in the winter for its balmier climate

Last weekend I was given the politest leaflet in the world, by a very pleasant young lady who was standing on the Solent shore, near Hill Head.  She was wrapped up like a Michelin man to escape the Arctic blasts. Weren’t we all?

Escaping the real Arctic, according to the lady and her leaflet, are the birds. Thousands of them.

I didn’t realise quite how important the Solent is for wintering birds.

But it seems lots of them find our shores positively balmy compared with their home ground.

And, thanks to a new partnership scheme between local councils and conservation bods around the area, there are a team of six out and about on the far-stretching miles of Solent coastline politely letting us know what to do when we see birds.

In essence, we’re being told to steer clear, and not to disturb them. 

There are so many of us, and the birds’ feeding time is restricted to low tide when they chow down on marine worms, shellfish and assorted plants, we need to leave them in peace. 

Seemingly there are 125,000 airborne visitors who can lose vital feeding time as we blunder around.

The politeness of the leaflet made me smile. It was a warning about people often disturbing the birds ‘unintentionally’ and requesting that you keep your dog on a short lead if ‘you cannot rely on its obedience’.

That’s about the only thing I can rely on with my dog – utter disobedience.

I absolutely applaud the effort that is going into this endeavour though, the on-the-ground push to keep our coastline as useful as it can be for all visitors – be they winged, on foot, on wheels and in cars.

Plus, the Bird Aware leaflet also has a helpful chart with images of birds to tick off once you’ve spotted them.

If only the wind would have died down, I might now be able to tell a sanderling from a dunlin, or a turnstone from a redshank.

But given its icy blast in my eyes was making me cry, I headed home and marvelled at the fact there is a species of bird called godwit.

Thunderbolts and lightning! Queen biopic was rocking

Whatever the critics might say, and they’ve said a lot of negative stuff, I loved the new Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody. 

It was engaging, told me lots of information I didn’t know about Queen and the making of their songs, their relationships and trajectory.

Plus it had a rocking sound track which I don’t need to buy as I have it all.

And Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury, was supreme, mesmerising to the extent I couldn’t take my eyes offhim when he was on screen.

The critical reviews I read said it didn’t deal with Freddie’s personal life properly, but what it does do is deliver a feel-good, emotional punch.

Spooky Strictly left Saturday night viewers at Fever pitch

The Halloween special is the best Strictly. It’s when the costumes and the make-up really go to town and all the old goodies come pouring out, or should that be ghosties?

The best bit was Faye Tozer’s number with Giovanni Pernice. Their routine was inspired by theatre jazz, and was danced to Peggy Lee’s Fever.

It was extraordinary, and really makes Saturday night telly worth watching – but who could go wrong with such a superb song? 

If you haven’t seen it, find it online and enjoy every moment. Then look up Bob Fosse (the originator of the moon walk) and enjoy every second of his work.

That’s dancing, that’s storytelling, that’s superb.