Up to 10,000 brent geese visit the harbour area from November to March each year, before returning to Siberia to breed in the summer. Small for a goose, with a white neck collar and white under the tail, they are vegetarian and graze on grass, cereal crops and the seaweed on the mudflats.
Solent Harbour Seals
A number of Common Seals (Phoca vitulina), also known as Harbour seals, live in the Solent and often visit Chichester Harbour. This is the only known rookery in the Eastern English Channel and so they are considered regionally unique and are, therefore, very important. Atlantic Grey seals have also been spotted on occasions.
Chichester Harbour provides an ideal habitat for them as they are relatively undisturbed and food is plentiful as they like to feed on fish and crustaceans. There is also plenty of mud and sand for them to rest on.
- Waders: curlew, whimbrel, godwit, oyster-catcher, redshank, turnstone, dunlin, sanderling, lapwing, ringed plover, grey plover, golden plover, greenshank, sandpiper
- Geese: brent geese
- Ducks: shelduck, mallard, wigeon, teal, redbreasted merganser
- Herons: grey heron, little egret
- Terns: sandwich, common, little
Starting on the east side of East Head and working across to the west the following plants are some that can be found:
- Lower saltmarsh: sea purslane, rice grass, eel grass, glasswort
- Upper saltmarsh: sea lavender, sea blight, sea aster, sea purslane, saltmarsh grass
- Grey dunes (eastern side dunes): marram grass, common gorse, red fescue, ragwort
- Slack (low lying in the middle): glasswort, saltmarsh grass, rice grass, sea purslane, tree lupin, seaclub rush.
- Fore dunes (western side dunes): yellow horned poppy, sea beet, sea holly, sand couch, lyme grass.