Introducing Dorset Discovery Wildlife Tours...

Dorset is a county of calm and tranquility, with its rare lowland heathland, rolling chalk downland, numerous bird rich harbours and of course the awe inspiring Jurassic Coast. Dorset is an ideal commuting county for many thousands of migrating birds entering and leaving the UK whilst playing host to some of the most pristine, untouched habitats you’ll ever feast your eyes on. One of the most bio-diverse counties in the country it’s easy to lose yourself in nature at any time of year as vast wader flocks arrive for the winter and the summer heathlands become alive with Nightjars and all six native species of UK reptile.

The RSPB and new charity ‘Birds of Poole Harbour’ have joined forces offering you the chance to experience Dorset through the seasons with their new ‘Dorset Discovery’ wildlife tours. The tours will be spread over the year giving you an intimate insight into Dorset’s vast and varied wildlife. The RSPB have 9 reserves in Dorset covering an area over 1000 hectares, experience these wildlife havens and other local wildlife hotspots, with the people who know them best. To top it all, profits go straight back into the conservation of the sights you visit enabling us to continue giving nature a home in Dorset.

What makes ‘Dorset Discovery’ unique?

  • Gain access to some of the UK’s best wildlife spots and areas of RSPB reserves opened exclusively for our Dorset Discovery tour
  • You will be led by expert local guides from the RSPB and Birds of Poole Harbour charity, who also happen to be the very people responsible for managing, surveying and protecting these wonderful landscapes.
  • Learn about why and how we manage sites for wildlife too.
  • 100% of the profits go straight back in to local wildlife conservation, right back in to the places you’ve visited.


Dorset Discovery Winter Tour – January 12th – 14th 2015 - Click Here For Tour Info

Join our Dorset Discovery tour to see Dorset at it’s most spectacular during the winter. Vast wader flocks are attracted to our Harbours including 1000+ Avocet and 2000+ Black-tailed Godwit in Poole Harbour alone, not to mention the usual score of Spoonbill. All three-diver species, Black-necked, Slavonian and Red-necked Grebe are annual in Portland Harbour and Long-tailed Duck, Eider Duck, Common and Velvet Scoter should be amongst them too. Winter is also raptor time as both Marsh and Hen Harrier patrol the reedbed, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin make a nuisance of themselves in the estuaries and Short-eared Owl hunt low over grassy fields. As dusk approaches we’ll also be on the look out for Woodcock flying over our heads as they go out to feed, and keep watch for Barn Owl gliding over wintery meadows.


Dorset Discovery Spring Tour – April 27th-29th  2015 - Click Here For Tour Info

Spring migration in Dorset is a must see for any enthusiastic naturalist. Wheatear, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Whitethroat, Nightingale, Yellow Wagtail, Ring Ouzel, Cuckoo and Hobby are all on their way back for the business of breeding and raising young. The heathlands, which are home to many resident Dartford Warbler become a hive of activity as Woodlark sing by moonlight, Green Tiger Beetles prowl on sandy paths and the first Sand Lizards come out to stretch their legs. This is also a great transition period as many of our over-wintering species can still be seen with Avocet, Grey Plover, Spoonbill, Marsh and Hen Harrier all being on our ‘hit list’.


TOUR CANCELLED - Dorset Discovery Summer Tour – June 29th – July 1st 2015 – Click here for more info

The towering cliffs of our coastline are home to an important south coast breeding population of Guillemot and Razorbill as well as Fulmar, Kittiwake and plenty of Shag. Other important breeding colonies include large Sandwich and Common Tern colonies along with a small and well protected Little Tern colony. The numerous heathlands deserve a special focus as we track down all six native species of reptile including the exceptionally rare Smooth Snake. Dartford Warbler, Woodlark, Tree Pipit, Hobby and Cuckoo should all be accompanying us on our walks along with other heathland specialists like Silver-studded Blue Butterfly, Green Tiger Beetle, huge Raft Spiders and the carnivorous Sundew! The grand finale will be a sunset walk to listen and look for the mystical Nightjar of which Dorset has a very healthy population.


FULLY BOOKED Dorset Discovery Autumn Tour – Sept 7th - 9th 2015 – Click here for more info

Autumn is a time of change, arrival and departure, and although September can still certainly feel like summer, for the birds it’s definitely time to start thinking about heading south. Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Redstart, Whinchat, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat all pile through in good numbers along with vast gatherings of Swallow, House and Sand Martin often closely followed by hungry Hobby. September is a great month for waders too, both passing through and arriving. Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Little Ringed Plover will be in transit, as Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank and Spotted Redshank will begin settling down for the winter. All six native reptiles will still be out and about on the heathlands and giant Wasp Spiders and Raft Spiders can be found on and around acidic ponds. This week in September is also classic Osprey week, sometimes with up to six at any one time in Poole Harbour. September in Dorset is magical, so why not join us for what’s surely going to be a trip to remember.

How to Book

This is an exclusive trip with only 14 places available, so please book early to avoid disappointment. To book please ring the RSPB’s South West Regional Office in Exeter on 01392 432691 and ask to book on to the RSPB and ‘Birds Of Poole Harbour’ Winter Tour. Bookings will start on Monday June 22nd. If you wish to be put on the reserve list prior to that date, please contact Rob Farrington on 07725574793

By booking you are agreeing to our terms and conditions.


You will be sent directions to RSPB Arne, booking confirmation and details of our accommodation partner.


Paul Morton –

Rob Farrington –


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