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Birding in Dorset

Visit Europe's largest natural harbour, home to internationally important numbers of rare bird species

A white tailed eagle above Poole Harbour in Dorset

Poole Harbour is one of the best places in the country to see native and migratory bird species. Several reserves offer marked trails or you could take a boat trip out into the harbour and visit Brownsea Island, owned by the National Trust and largely managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust.

Keep an eye out for magnificent White Tailed Eagles, boasting a wingspan of over two metres. Osprey are also a common sight, especially during the autumn migration, fishing in the harbour before their long journey to over-wintering grounds in West Africa. Internationally important numbers of waders gather to feed on the water’s edge, including sizeable flocks of spoonbills and avocets.

A Redshank flying across Poole Harbour at Arne in Dorset
A Dartford Warbler at Arne nature reserve in Dorset

Dartford Warblers flit amongst the gorse on the heath while the woodland is home to nuthatch, treecreepers, spotted flycatchers and the tiny firecrest. Watch for the cattle egret perching on grazing cattle in the meadows and in summer, listen out for the peculiar call of the nightjars churring on the heath at dusk.

From £125

Year round

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