One reason many wildfowl flock to our coasts in winter lies beneath the waves: eelgrass. This flowering plant is adapted to life in salt water, with trailing leaves that form lush underwater meadows – now a threatened habitat. It is a favourite food of brent geese and whooper swans ( opposite), and of dabbling mallard, pintail and wigeon – one of its old names is wigeon grass. The most extensive meadows are found in shallow bays and inlets such as Studland Bay in Dorset, the Solent and Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.
Take part in the Community Seagrass Initiative: csi-seagrass.co.uk