MORE than 3,000 black-tailed godwits were seen on Brownsea Island in December, a new record for Dorset.

Wardens on the island reported sightings of 3,700 godwits on the lagoon and their numbers remained high throughout January.

The black-tailed godwit is a rare breeding bird in the UK that has suffered from dramatic declines.

They are a tall, elegant wading bird which form large flocks when feeding, by digging in the mud with their long bills, hunting for invertebrates.

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Poole Harbour reserves officer, Luke Johns, said: “The Brownsea Lagoon is a hub of activity all year round, but bird numbers do peak in the winter.

“It is fantastic to see so many black-tailed godwits and it shows how resourceful wildlife can be if habitat is compromised.

“We are proud that due to careful management we are able to provide this habitat in the heart of Poole Harbour for these declining birds.

“It is also a great opportunity for the public to see birds in large numbers from the hides over-looking the lagoon.”