Plants & animals

Can you seek a sika? © John Millar

Can you seek a sika?

Sika deer

Britain's second largest breed of deer was introduced to the island from Japan in 1896. The deer quickly discovered that they could swim across the water to the Isle of Purbeck, where they established new herds. Sika deer on the island are quite shy, so will often be found hiding in in dense tree and plant cover.

See if you can spot a playful but bashful red squirrel  © John Millar

See if you can spot a playful but bashful red squirrel

Red squirrels

Almost extinct in Southern England, red squirrels are the most important pine-feeding creatures we have here. Most active in spring and autumn at sunrise and sunset, they can be found in all wooded areas of the island. They are very shy and can be difficult to spot and partly-eaten cones may be the only clues.

Island lagoon

Logoon wildlife

Birds such as avocets, black-tailed godwits and visiting wildfowl over-winter here. During the summer common/sandwich terns will breed on the lagoon.

Island peacocks

Peacock strolling through daffodils on Brownsea Island

These large and brightly coloured birds, native to South Asia, roam around various places on the island. If you’re lucky you'll see the male in full display.

Heathland habitat

Heather in full flower

The island has a heathland block at the centre, with flora including bell and ling heather. Heather comes into flower from late July onwards, producing a glorious carpet of purple and pink flowers.


Earthstar Fungi, Brownsea Island

This rare fungus has three layers and when it rains the two outer layers open up to reveal a beautifui star shape. It is the only fungus that can move and can be found here in the summer and autumn.

Death cap

Death Cap Fungi, Brownsea Island

This lethal fungus can be found near hardwood and conifer trees. Sometimes confused with edible species, these should not be touched if found. They have been spotted here during the summer months.

Common fungi

Common Yellow Russula Fungi, Brownsea Island

There are many common fungi species on Brownsea Island that can be spotted throughout the year. This common yellow russula, earthballs, puffballs and red milkcaps are just a few that can be found.