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Peregrine and Prey
Peregrine. Photo: Simon Johnson

Short Eared Owl
Short-eared Owl. Photo: Julian Sawyer

Northern Gannets
Northern Gannets. Photo: Simon Johnson

Common Whitethroat
Common Whitethroat. Photo: Simon Johnson

Kestrel. Photo: Ken Dolbear

Fulmar. Photo: Adrian Winter

Jackdaws. Photo: Roy Cowley

Stonechat. Photo: Ken Dolbear

Shag. Photo: Adrian Winter 

Black Redstart
Black Redstart. Photo: Simon Kidner 

Robin. Photo: Adrian Winter


Durlston is a very special place for birds with a mixed mosaic of habitats offering suitable areas for breeding birds but also due to its location a magnet for migrants passing through in the spring and autumn.

Over 270 species have been recorded, ranging from the mega rare, scarce and common. The only European sighting of the American, Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum was recorded in 1966 with host of rarities including Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys , Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinusBonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus Philadelphia, Pallid Swift Apus pallidus, Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus, Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus and Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala all seen over the years .

Autumn can be a wonderful time to see visible migration in action as literally thousands of finches, thrushes and hirundines pass through filling the air with large flocks. European records have been set for 10,960 Linnet Carduelis cannabina , 45,000 Swallow Hirundo rustica and 6,500 Sand Martin Riparia riparia.

Breeding birds include the red listed Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella, Linnet and Skylark Alauda arvensis for which a detailed conservation initiative has recently been started to try and reserve their sadly declining population.

The scrub provides habitat for breeding Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca, Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis, Stonechat Saxicola torquata and Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula amongst the more common species, whilst down on the cliffs around the caves Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros have recently started to breed.

The exposed sea cliffs provide nesting ledges for Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus, Herring Gull Larus argentatus and Razorbill Alca torda whilst one of the UK’s most productive Guillemots Uria aalge colonies return each year en masse with an average of 350 birds seen crammed into the breeding ledges .

Just over the reserve boundary a small population of Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla and Puffin Fratercula arctica can be found with declining numbers a cause for concern for their future in the area.


The Durlston Checklist

 Complete Durlston Species List - comprising records from the past 30 years


Just published

Durlston Ringing Report 2020


Durlston Bird Reports








Related links

Summary Bird reports



Bird Photo Archive

Bird Photo slideshow