Creative commons image Credit: Baylands bird watcher / Don DeBold / CC BY 2.0 The first of January is often a special day for birdwatchers everywhere as the race is on to begin their new year lists whilst also reflecting on the year list just completed.

For this Saving Species the role of wetland habitats in providing a wintering refuge for our own wildfowl and to birds from more northern areas of Europe is explored at Lymington Marshes in Hampshire.

With the Solent separating Lymington from the Isle of Wight this episode revels in the winter spectacle of thousands of birds coming into the marsh at high tide providing an atmospheric backdrop to the more serious conservation issues which make areas like this such a valuable habitat in Europe.

Britain's native oysters are in trouble. In the last few decades our oyster beds have been reduced by an estimated more than 90 per cent.

Recently in Cambridge a conference took place between scientists, fishermen and the government to discuss what can be done to reverse this decline.

We report from an oyster bed and discuss what the future holds for these bellwether indicators of estuarine river health.

Also in the programme:

  • News from around the world with regular news reporter, Kelvin Boot
  • An update on the activities of the Open University's iSpot. A new iSpot app has been launched, making it possible to photograph wildlife, upload it to iSpot and get help with identifications while you’re still out in the field.

Listen to Saving Species

You can listen to this episode of Saving Species on BBC Radio 4 at 11:00am on Tuesday 1 January 2012. More information and a link to listen again can be found on the Radio 4 website.

Dig deeper into nature