Finding or identifying species in Dorset

In my travels around the nature reserves of Dorset I have tried to record the animals and plants I have seen and to take a photograph where I can. This has presented a few challenges with identification and, given I am not really a photographer, some of my photos are quite poor. However, I have put all this accumulated data and related images together into a database of over 1,500 species.

This section is intended to help people who have seen an animal or plant and want to identifying it. For those with a particular interest my offerings here may help them pursue that interest and perhaps help them find a species they particularly want to see; most often this will be people planning to visit the county. In putting this together I have tried to make it as non-technical as I can so that anyone can use it but I expect some specialists will cringe at what I have done! This is not a scientific work, this is to help beginners and casual observers answer questions they may have.


Click/tap your selection to move to the next level down:


The master database of recorded sightings starting from January 2017 which can be interrogated by species or site or between date range. Most recent recorded sightings come first in case you just want to know what is about!     


Some of the Twitter contributors we monitor have favourite sites that they frequently visit and record at. These sites have far more coverage than the others and so I have identified them on a location map. Not only do these sites have the most records they are amongst the best places to visit in Dorset.


There are a number of wildlife enthusiasts in Dorset who publish their recorded sightings (and sometimes photographs) on Twitter and Facebook and we monitor their posts and use them to create the recorded sightings database and a gallery of photographs that may aid species identification. You can find out more about these people and see their photographs here.


Access the SPECIES guide for details of over 1,500 species recorded in Dorset; animals and plants. For many that I have recorded there is a description, some basic information, some photographs, a distribution map and links to similar species. Use the SPECIES guide if you: 

    • Want to find out where to see a specific species
    • Want a guide as to the species you can see in Dorset
    • Want help identifying something you have seen

Access the IDENTIFICATION guide for an alternative method of identifying plants using specific attributes such as colour, month of flowering, habitat seen in and more. Use the IDENTIFICATION guide if you: 

    • Want to identify a plant you have seen in flower
    • Want to identify a tree from its flower, leaf, bark, shape etc.
    • Want to identify another form of plant other than flowers and trees (coming soon!)

Access the INDEX guide for an alphabetic list of all the 1,500 plus species in the database. There are some filters to helo search and manage the list to find what you are looking for. Use the INDEX if you: 

    • Know what species you are looking for information about and want a quick route to it
    • Want to see what species in a related group I have recorded

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