Located at the Southwest side of England, Dorset is one of the UK’s top counties when it comes to bird watching. It is increasingly popular because of the frequented visits of rare and fascinating species.
You may spot many species throughout the year, the best time to visit Dorset is in autumn and winter. In this season, you can spot many rarities such as Black-tailed Godwits, Spoonbills, Hen Harriers, Ospreys, and many others. Where you can see many flocks of birds migrating in, you will also see some local birds migrate to South Africa in the early autumn.
Dorset has a lot of variety for bird watchers; however, you need to know the areas within the county to experience what Dorset offers appropriately. Therefore, here are some of the most popular bird-watching destinations in Dorset that you must watch.
RSPB Lodmoor and Radipole Lake
Within the heart of Weymouth, an English coastal town, the RSPB Radipole lake is an unlikely, yet one of the prime havens for birds and other wildlife. The reedbeds and wetlands of the reserve offer an excellent spot for many birds to spend their winter, and they are a habitat for many local birds as well.
Though you can spot a large variety of birds, the stars of the Radipole lake reserve are the Kingfisher, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, and Cetti’s Warbler. The reserve has many natural trails and several picnic spots, which makes it an excellent spot to visit as a family.
The staff is very supportive and well-informed, and you can even rent a pair of binoculars to spot your favorite birds easily. However, if you are a bird-watching enthusiast, consider investing in a decent pair of your own. You may think that buying a high-quality scope might be super expensive, but if you know where to look, you can buy high-quality night vision scopes under $500.
Poole Harbor is a natural harbor located in Dorset county with the town of Poole on its shores. Having an area of 36 square KMs, this large harbor and its sheltered waters invite up to 20,000 birds every winter, which is why it is one of the Must-visit bird-watching spots in Dorset.
Among many other species, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, and Curlews are the most sought-after species of the region. Within Poole Harbor, you can visit the RSPB (Royal Society for Protection of Birds) Arne Natural Reserve. The reserve is a mix of heathland and forests, where you can spot a fair number of Avocets, Spoonbills, and Ospreys.
The Poole Harbor has many small islands, however the largest, Brownsea island is another excellent spot you should check out. The once rare, little Egrets, are now a widespread bird in this area. Therefore, Poole harbor is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating and essential bird-watching spots in Dorset, that you can’t afford to miss.
Isle of Portland
Portland is one of the most popular bird-watching spots in Dorset, and it is like a magnet for various species of migrating birds. You will be able to witness massive flocks of passing seabirds, and if you visit at the right time, you will also see flocks of Porchards flying east.
A quick trip to the nearby Portland Bird Observatory is essential if you visit the isle of portland for a bird-watching experience. This high tower in the center of the green fields offers an excellent vantage spot to sit with your binoculars and spot many different species of birds.
It would be best if you also planned a hike on the South West Coast path, which goes around the isle of portland. Though the walk may be a bit challenging, it is worth it, as you will be rewarded with many rare bird sightings.
The Christchurch Harbour Reserve is another must-visit birding spot in the county of Dorset. It is like a hotspot for several migrating species. The 120 feet high Hengistbury Head, located within the harbor, is another attraction for birdwatchers and other visitors.
The Fleet Lagoon
If you are on a bird-watching trip to Dorset, the Fleet lagoon is another spot that you can’t afford to miss out on. The Fleet lagoon is like an 8-mile long paradise for birds and birdwatchers. Every year, in autumn, it attracts thousands of migrating geese, Wigeons, Coots, and Canada geese.
This is a prime location for many wildlife photographers, as they can get many breath-taking shots of the massive migrating flocks.
For the best bird watching experience, you should follow the South West coast path, starting from Ferrybridge up to Abbotsbury, where you will be able to visit many wonderful spots for spotting birds. Langton herring and East Fleet are two more destinations they are worth visiting.
You should also check out the nearby Abbotsbury Swannery, where you can have the priceless experience to witness more than 600 majestic mute swans.
Durlston Country Park and NNR
The last location on this list is one of the best, Durlston Country Park is a National Nature Reserve that covers an area of over 260 acres. The many sea cliffs in the park, invite many migrating waterfowl and shorebirds to the coast.
If you visit at the right time, around early autumn, you will be able to experience massive flocks of migrating birds circling over your head. It would be best to visit the nearby Dancing Ledge, which is a popular spot for watching Kittiwakes and Puffins.
The UK is one of the best spots for birdwatchers, especially in the winter. Dorset is a county on the southwest shore of England with many amazing bird-watching destinations packed into a small area. If you are planning a bird-watching trip to England or live in the UK and want an incredible nature experience, you should visit Dorset.
While you are there, don’t forget to check out the astonishing birding spots mentioned in this post. It is guaranteed that you will be able to spot many species and have a great time.