This 8-day tour based in 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 residents on 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 continuous 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. Cattle Egrets have made a massive invasion of Southern England in recent times, there are currently flocks of over 30 birds in the Weymouth area.
Add to that the prized birds that we can look for at Arne and the Wareham Forest. The heathland at both of these beautiful birding sites holds Dartford Warbler, 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
Wareham Forest is an excellent site for finding Yellowhammer, Woodlark, Goldcrest, Common Crossbill, all three 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 superb Guest which is just a few minutes walk from East Fleet. Those arriving by train will be met at the station and driven the short distance to the guest house. For the afternoon will shall spend time at Radipole Lake looking for Bearded Tit, Cetti's Warbler and many species of gulls and ducks. Recently (autumn 2018) the pre-roost gathering of gulls has attracted Franklin's Gull, Ring-billed Gull amongst hundreds of Mediterranean Gulls.
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, Stoborough Heath 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 Train station
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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