Poole Harbour Bird Boats


Poole Harbour Bird Boats showcase Poole Harbour, the islands and the spectacular wildlife that can be found there.

The National Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust and the RSPB have joined forces to offer the rare opportunity to view one of the best autumn and winter bird spectacles in the UK. Over 20,000 birds visit Poole Harbour each year to feed and roost, including Britain's largest over-wintering populations of spoonbills and the largest flock of avocets in the UK. Large numbers of birds of prey including marsh and hen harrier, peregrine falcon, and merlin can also be seen. 

 An experienced Ranger will guide you on your tour of the harbour with some boats offering a landing on Brownsea Island with a walk around the lagoon.

Autumn is a busy time on the lagoon as birds such as waders from Canada and brent geese from the Arctic travel to warmer climes, stopping off for a well earned rest.  The lagoon has brackish water, a mix of fresh and saline water, providing an abundance of forage for many wading birds.  Avocets and black tailed godwits are attracted to the warmth of the lagoon on the eastern side of the island and out of the prevailing wind. It becomes a refuge to birds from all around the harbour at high tide when the mudflats elsewhere are covered.

Little Egret
Little Egret

In Spring, common and sandwich terns flock to the lagoon to breed and may be seen heading off to warmer lands in the autumn.  Other birds to be found on Brownsea and in Poole Harbour include oystercatchers, mallards, little egrets, gulls, firecrest, black tailed godwits, wigeons, redshank, greenshank and stonechats amongst many others.  The harbour really is a great place to come and see birdlife and what better way than on one of Poole Harbour bird boats.  Booking is essential as boats get booked up very quickly, call the National Trust office on Brownsea Island on 01202707744 to secure your place now.

The first boat trip is on Sunday 3 September with a special Osprey Cruise which travels up the Wareham Channel and between Shipstal Point and Long and Round Islands. Poole Harbour is a regular stop over for ospreys heading south at this time of year. Following this year's introduction of additional osprey chicks to the area, in the hope of encouraging breeding, this is a great chance to look out for these magnificent birds of prey and many other birds from terns to migrating waders.

All boats depart from Poole Quay with Brownsea Island Ferries
Cruise only £ 17 adult, £7.50 child (including members)
Sun 3 September 2017,   09.00 - 11.30 (NOW FULL)
Sat 13 January 2018,    09.00 - 11.30
Fri 16 February 2018,   09.00-11.30

Cruise with Brownsea landing, £22 adult, £10 child (including members)
Sat 25 November 2017,  10.00-1400
Sat 9 December 2017 10.00-1400
Sat 6 January 2018  10.00-1400
Sun 21 January 2018  09.00-1300
Sun 4 February 2018 09.00-1300