This 8-day tour based in Wareham & Weymouth, concentrates heavily on coastal migration hot-spots and the wintering locations of many birds in this beautiful south coast county. Birds we shall look for include several rare species as well as regular migrants. On Portland anything can turn up at this time of the year but regulars include: Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Ortolan and Lapland Buntings. Whilst at Ferrybridge, Portland Harbour and the fleet we can look for Grebes and Divers, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser and perhaps an unusual Gull, Tern or wader.
Purple Sandpipers are regular winter visitors to Portland
During autumn over the last few years several exciting wader species have 'dropped in' to the Weymouth area: birds such as Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher and an influx of Glossy Ibis. Lodmoor has hosted most of these birds. The 'Fleet' ( is a series and contiguous number of brackish pools sheltered from Lyme Bay by Chesil Bank and stretches 7 miles from Ferrybridge all the way to Abbotsbury Swannery) usually houses Greater Scaup, sometimes Long-tailed Duck and plenty of Brent Geese which often have Pale-bellied Geese in the flock with them and the Nearctic Black Brant. . Both Cattle and Great Egrets have made a massive invasion of Southern England in recent times, there are currently often over 30 Cattle Egrets in the Weymouth area.
Add to that the prized birds that we can look for at Arne and the Wareham Forest. For the first part of this tour we shall be based in Wareham so that we are close to Wareham Forest and the Arne Peninsular. The heathland at Arne and Wareham both support good populations of the beautiful Dartford Warbler, also Common Stonechat and Woodlark, and both have the prospect of hosting a wintering Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harriers, whilst Merlins can often be found at this time of the year.
Short-eared Owl taken on Portland October 2018 and were present in good numbers during our 2021 Tour
Wareham Forest is also an excellent site for finding Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Common Crossbill, Woodpeckers, Siskin, Redpoll, Mistle Thrush and a host of common woodland species. Whilst Arne has the added prospect of seeing Pied Avocet, Godwits, Eurasian Spoonbill, Grebes and Divers as we scan Poole Harbour from various locations around Arne and Studland Bay.
We meet up around noon at our lovely Hotel in the centre of Wareham which is just a few minutes walk from Swineham Gravel Pits and Wareham Marsh. Those arriving by train will be met at the station and driven the short distance to the Hotel. The afternoon will be spent visiting Hartland Moor and Middlebere.
We shall vists many sites on the heathlands that surround Poole Harbour and in particular RSPB Arne. We shall also visit Wareham Forest at Sugar Hill, Sherford Bridge and Morden Bog. A visit to RSPB Lychett Fields will enhance our sightings list with a number of wading birds.
On Day 4 we will transfer across to Weymouth where we will spend the last four nights of the tour based in Weymouth at a lovely Bed and Breakfast Guest House. During transfer day we will visit some sites around Dorchester including Silver Lake and Maiden Castle, both of these sites will hold migrant species where we can look for Wheatears, Whincats, Flycatchers, Redstarts, Pipits and Larks. There will be many species of gulls and ducks at Silverlake which is also a good site for finding Woodlark.
We shall visit all the sites named above and a few more thrown in, our itinerary for days 2-7 depends entirely on the weather, bird movements and the discretion of the guide. Rest assured you will have a fantastic time visiting Portland, Ferrybridge and the Fleet, RSPB Arne, Poole Harbour, Wareham Forest, artland Moort and Lodmoor Nature Reserve.
Franklin's Gull with Mediterranean Gull at Radipole Lake Autumn 2018
A morning’s birding at one of the local reserves if time permits, transport to Weymouth Station if required
Check for availability - click the link below and then scroll down to the Dorset Tour - "Remaining Places" are shown beneath the banner of each tour http://www.wingspanbirdtours.com/tours
or contact us via the contacts page http://www.wingspanbirdtours.com/contact
We had superb weather, in fact it was too nice at times! The group was lovely we had plenty of laughs but the migration was more or less non-exisitent. We hardly saw a common migrant let alone a rare one. Despite this we saw over 120 spe...View Report
We had a wet and windy week in Weymouth, rain and high winds spoilt some of our days, but we went home happy with many excellent sightings and some memorable experiences. We saw one or two rare species and a few uncommon migrants as well...View Report