Common Dolphin (Tom Brereton)

Wildlife Cruises in the UK

Matt Eade
By Matt Eade
Operations Assistant
19th April 2021
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Using experienced skippers and expert wildlife tour leaders, our exclusively chartered cruises provide the very best chance for memorable wildlife encounters. From bow-riding dolphins to petrels, shearwaters, skuas, whales and possibly even sharks, join us on our exciting series of cruise Day Trips to observe the special marine-life of the English Channel!

Weymouth Pelagic: Dolphins, Shearwaters & Petrels

Departing Weymouth Harbour, we first navigate around the Isle of Portland where we aim to obtain close views of the seabird colony; Guillemots will be aplenty, and we may even chance upon a Puffin or two. Rafts of shearwaters, including both Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, Gannets and other seabirds are often not too far offshore. As we progress out to sea, pods of Bottlenose and Common Dolphins may join us as they bow-ride the vessel, and we will dedicate time to finding the highly sought-after White-beaked Dolphins who shouldn’t be too far away. European Storm Petrels are also a feature on this wildlife-rich day, while exceptional sightings in the past have included Thresher Shark, Ocean Sunfish and Basking Shark!

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Ocean Sunfish (Dave Shute)

Seabirds & Cetaceans of Lyme Bay

Situated further west along the Dorset coast, our Lyme Bay cruises, which depart the lovely coastal fishing town of Brixham, aim to find the many birds and cetaceans off Dorset’s Jurassic Coast. Our main quarry will be the pods of White-beaked Dolphins which frequent these waters and as we search, we often have frequent encounters with inquisitive Common Dolphins. Birds will be represented by both Manx and Balearic Shearwaters, and hopefully, European Storm Petrels, whilst Gannets, Shags and a range of gulls will also fly within arm’s reach of the vessel. Basking Sharks and Minke Whales have also been encountered on previous tours.

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White-beaked Dolphin (Dave Shute)

Wildlife in Tor Bay including Boat Trip

This 2.5-hour boat trip is part of a very popular Day Trip which also explores nearby Berry Head and excellent adjacent sites for a range of special species. Led by local expert birdwatcher Mike Langman, we head out into Tor Bay and around the headland, providing excellent photographic opportunities of both the wildlife and beautiful coastline. Tor Bay is superb for wildlife year-round and throughout the year we have a very good chance of observing Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin. In the spring and summer, breeding seabirds may include Guillemots, Shags and Fulmars, whilst passing birds may include Manx Shearwater and the globally threatened Balearic Shearwater. Peregrine Falcons will be looking down from the cliffs above and when not at sea, the rest of the day is spent exploring on foot. Mike dedicates time to conserving specialities such as Cirl Bunting, and therefore knows the very best places to find them.

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Balearic Shearwater

South Devon - A Wildlife Cruise on the River Dart

Our specially chartered 3.5-hour cruise on the River Dart sees us head out of the estuary and a short way offshore to the Mew Stone Rock with its breeding seabirds, before heading back upriver past the scenic towns of Dartmouth and Kingswear. Species to be expected along the route include breeding seabirds such as Shags, Cormorants, gulls, Fulmars and Kittiwakes, with Peregrines breeding nearby. Guillemots and Razorbills will usually be feeding around us, with passing Manx Shearwaters and Gannets, while Puffin remains a distinct possibility. We also have a good chance of finding Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise, with Bottlenose Dolphin occasionally encountered and even Bluefin Tuna! In the estuary, waders such as Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank and Oystercatcher will be enjoyed and with luck Kingfishers, or perhaps a passage Osprey stopping off on the estuary to feed. Both Grey Seal and the much rarer (in the south-west) Harbour Seal are usually hauled out on pontoons, hopefully providing us with close views. The rest of the day is spent exploring fantastic local sites where a range of wildfowl, warblers, waders and buntings are all possible. 

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Bottlenose Dolphin (Tom Brereton)