Wildlife in Portland

Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre, situated in the Old Lower Lighthouse at Portland Bill, was established in 1961 to provide a focal point for anyone interested in the natural history of Portland.

By virtue of its geographical position, extending some six miles out into the English Channel, the Isle of Portland has proved to be a site of major importance for the study of bird migration and has attracted a long and varied list of rare and exotic sightings. At the Observatory a long established programme of catching and ringing the migrant birds continues to provide fascinating insights into their wide-ranging travels, as well as allowing visitors a unique opportunity to see them at close quarters.

Portland, of course, provides tremendous scope for a variety of other natural history studies, many of which are catered for at the Observatory. The particularly varied and unusual flora is of interest not only in its own right, but also for the insects it supports: butterflies are always conspicuous, whilst the moth traps that have been operated in the Observatory grounds for many years have revealed not only a peculiar local fauna rich in many nationally rare indigenous species, but also a wealth of rare immigrants - to date, over 1200 species of moth have been recorded there.

Where to go

Visitors are always welcome to call in at the Observatory where details of the latest bird and other natural history sightings from around the island are always available.

You can also visit the Portland Bird Observatory website.