The lagoon

Discover Brownsea's birdlife on the stunning lagoon © John Millar

This is a habitat of national and international importance for a variety of birds. They use the lagoon to nest, feed and roost throughout the year.

You can spot over-wintering birds leaving in the spring. From May to July common and sandwich terns feed their young. Grey herons, little egrets, cormorants, oystercatchers, shelducks, kingfishers and wagtails all roost and feed.

Mixed woodland

The garden at South Shore Lodge © National Trust

There are over 60 types of tree on Brownsea, most were deliberately planted.

The central valley contains native hardwoods, oak, beech, holly and ash. Introduced trees include sycamore, sweet and horse chestnuts and conifers.

Spot fungi and wax caps and listen out for green woodpeckers. Wood ants have amazing nests and we also have red squirrels and the amazing golden pheasant.

The seashore

Beach on Brownsea Island © John Millar

The beach is sandy and pebbly, except at the western end where it's overlain by pottery and brick.

You can see sea thrift, sea lavender, frosted orache and sticky groundsel. There are many shells and evidence of crabs, sandhoppers and other creatures.

Spot oystercatchers on the mud flats. We also have sandpipers and turnstones.

The heathland

Stunning heather houses many examples of wildlife

Stunning heather houses many examples of wildlife

The open heath - with its heather, gorse, wood sage, bird's foot trefoil, heath milkwort, heath bedstraw and sheep sorrel - attracts many insects. These include the small copper, common blue, silver-studded blue and green hairstreak butterflies.

What to spot here

  • On sunny days look out for common lizards basking in the sun
  • Tiger beetles hunting in the summer
  • Ling and bell heather
  • Dartford warbler
  • Butterflies and dragonflies