Redshanks are now widespread in inland UK with the greatest concentrations in north England and lowland Scotland.
The Hampshire-wide population has contracted to become largely coastal – the Solent is an important area for them in southern England.
Redshanks nest in wet grassland that is mostly short with scattered longer tussocks. They place their nest in a tussock so that they are hidden, but can easily see out and keep a watch for predators. Grazing is important to keep the majority of the grass fairly short.
Redshanks are noisy birds at their breeding sites and persistently call if any would be predators are near. This species nests in only very small numbers (say 10 pairs or fewer) within the central New Forest wetlands. In recent years none have been successful away from the coast and the Avon Valley.
In the New Forest, one of the best areas to find redshanks is the coast between Keyhaven and Lymington. Here you can walk the raised coastal path and see them feeding on the mudflats or around the pools at any time of year and any time of day.
ID tip – Redshanks are mostly mottled brown, with red legs, red at the base of the beak and a conspicuous white trailing edge to the wings in flight.
Photo credit: Mike Read