• Little Grebe

Migration Weekender Portland & environs, England

with The Portland Heights Hotel
Waders, gulls and migrants!

  • Duration

    15 May 2020 to 18 May 2020

  • Location


  • Led by

    David Lindo

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Price

    £550 per person

  • Single supplement


  • Deposit

    £110 per person

  • Group size

    up to 12 participants

  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 15/03/2020

Free loan of Leica Ultravid binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

About Portland, Dorset, England

Long known as one of the chief migration points in the UK the Isle of Portland is a limestone island connected to the mainland by road and a short distance away from Weymouth. It is indeed the southernmost point of Dorset jutting some six miles into the English Channel. The Portland Heights Hotel is situated on the island in the heart of the migration action. The Isle of Portland is also sited right in the centre of the famous Jurassic Coast, itself a World Heritage Site. Picture postcard shots are guaranteed at almost every turn!

Nearby lie ornithologically recognised hotspots like Portland Bill on the Isle itself, Arne, Poole Harbour and of course, urban birding in Weymouth around Radipole Lake and Lodmoor.

The local currency is the British Pound.

Tour overview

We will take a leisurely wander around Portland Bill and the surrounding areas looking for migrants in a very relaxed atmosphere. We will follow the itinerary fairly loosely in order to react to bird news and weather conditions. We will visit some of the classic sites in the area like Radipole Lake and Poole Harbour with a special visit to the world famous Portland Bill Bird Observatory. All trips will be made in a comfortable minibus.

Our evenings will be spent at The Portland Heights Hotels enjoying delicious food washed down wine and conversation!

Expected birds

  • Barn Swallow
  • Bearded Tit
  • Cetti’s Warbler
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Common Scoter
  • Dartford Warbler
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Little Egret
  • Mediterranean Gull
  • Northern Fulmar
  • Northern Gannet
  • Rock Pipit
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Terns

falls of migrants including chats, warblers and maybe even a rarity! Meanwhile out at sea we will look for migrating shearwaters and other seabirds.


May 15 – Arrival

Arrival by 6pm at The Portland Heights Hotel for a welcome champagne reception followed by dinner.

May 16 – Portland Bird Observatory, Radipole Lake & Lodmoor RSPB Reserve

We will start the day after breakfast with a visit to the Bird Observatory and garden. Whilst birding the immediate area we will indulge in a guided tour of the Observatory to learn about the work carried out there. If we are lucky we may be able to witness the ringing of migrants.

After lunch we will journey onto the mainland to visit the RSPB’s Radipole Lake within the urban surrounds of Weymouth. The reedbeds here are home to Bearded Tits and Cetti’s Warblers. We will also keep a keen eye out for any passing migrants. Later in the afternoon we will make the short trip to Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, still within urban Weymouth. It’s combination of reedbed, open water, saltmarsh, wet grassland and scrub makes it an ideal venue for lurking migrants. We will spend the rest of our day trying to eke out ducks, Marsh Harriers, Little Tern and a variety of waders.

Dinner at The Portland Heights Hotel.

Overnight stay at The Portland Heights Hotel.

May 17 – Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island and Arne RSPB Reserve

Today we will head to Poole Harbour after breakfast to catch the morning ferry to Brownsea Island – the site where Little Egrets first bred in Britain back in 1996. We will visit the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve where we will search for Red Squirrel. We will hopefully watch Spoonbill, Little Egrets and Sandwich Terns from the Lagoon Hides.

After lunch we get the boat back to the mainland and drift around this beautiful stretch of coastline stopping where the desire takes us to bird the shore and surrounding hinterland before ending our beautiful day at Arne.

We will be treated to a slightly different vista to what we were experiencing previously: dramatic open heathland and ancient oak woodland. We will be searching for Dartford Warbler, dragonflies and butterflies including rare Silver-studded Blue. Arne is also one of the few places in the country where it is possible to find all six species of reptile to be found in the UK.

Happy days!

Dinner at The Portland Heights Hotel.

Overnight stay at The Portland Heights Hotel.

May 18 – Last looks around the hotel & departure

After breakfast we may take another gander around the hotel and perhaps slightly beyond for a couple of hours before we depart home.

Special trip notes

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

There is a reasonable amount of walking involved thus a moderate level of fitness is required.

There will be a short boat trip so if you have an aversion to boats let that be known now.

We may walk across uneven terrain so a sturdy pair of shoes or better still, walking boots would be a good idea.

We will be dealing with British weather so bring waterproof attire – just in case….

Recommended field guide

Collins Bird Guide – Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterström

Book now

  • Duration: 15 May 2020 to 18 May 2020
  • Price: £550 per person
  • Group size: up to 12 participants
  • Single supplement - none
  • Deposit: £110 per person
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 15/03/2020

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Passenger details

    Once you have booked your tour with us, please complete this form:
    Client Travel Form

Price includes

  • A champagne reception on arrival
  • 3 nights full board accommodation at the famous Portland Heights Hotel, Portland Bill, Dorset
  • Transport in a comfortable minibus
  • Entrance fees to reserves and national parks
  • Guided trips out every day with David Lindo – The Urban Birder
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • All additional alcoholic beverages
  • Incidental refreshments at cafes and bars
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal travel insurance