Dorset Wildlife Checklist

You’ve set up camp and have got the lay of the land — so now what? Dig out your binoculars and go on a nature trail! We asked the wonderful team at Dorset Wildlife Trust to give us their top spots and a simple guide to tracking down the native wonders that call our county home.


Species: Sika Deer

How to identify: Sika are similar in appearance to the native Roe deer, but look out for their darker coats. They’re reddish-brown to yellow-brown in colour with a dark dorsal stripe surrounded by white spots in the summer.

Where to spot them: For a good chance of spotting a herd, head to the fringes of woodland at early morning or dusk. You’ll need to be walking without any four-legged friends for the best chance of finding them.


Species: Grey Seals

How to identify: You can spot a grey seal from their common cousins by their large heads and sloping ‘Roman nose’. Catch them in profile and you’ll see how they got their scientific name, Halichoerus grypus — it means hook-nosed sea pig! Charming.

Where to spot them: Take a walk along the picturesque Jurassic Coast with a pair of binoculars to try and spot the curious face of a grey seal bobbing in the waves. If you’re lucky, they’ll be at the surface close to shore or ‘hauled out’ onto rocks and beaches to rest.


Species: Barn Owls

How to identify: The beautiful barn owl is, perhaps, our most-loved owl. With its distinctive heart-shaped face, pure white breast feathers, and tawny back, these graceful raptors are ghostly silent, but, luckily, easy to spot.

Where to spot them: Field edges and grassy strips near woodland are the perfect hunting habitat for barn owls. Look out for one flying low over fields and hedgerows at dawn and dusk, or ‘quartering’ over farmland by day, on the hunt for its next small-mammal meal.


Species: Brown Hares

How to identify: The brown hare is golden-brown, with a pale belly and a white tail. It is larger than the Rabbit, with longer legs and longer ears and distinctive black tips.

Where to spot them: Hares can be seen bounding across the fields, using their powerful hind legs to propel them forwards, often in a zigzag pattern. They’re at their most visible in spring when the breeding season encourages fighting or ‘boxing’.

Badger Beers are proud supporters of Dorset Wildlife Trust – a local charity that works to protect natural spaces. Please visit dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk to learn more.