Other Mammal Species – Cetaceans

Other Mammal Species – Cetaceans

The main focus of the Dorset Mammal Group is the county’s terrestrial mammals but species of cetacean; Bottlenose Dolphin, White-beaked Dolphin, Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are often encountered, with other species; Risso’s Dolphin and Minke Whale seen less frequently.

How to observe cetaceans off the Dorset coast:

Common dolphin
Common Dolphin
Bottle nosed dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin off Portland Bill






You can observe some species such as
Bottlenose Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and

White beaked dolphin
White-beaked Dolphin

Common Dolphin from the headlands of Durlston Head, Portland Bill and others, but to encounter more species such as White-beaked Dolphin and Minke Whale, a trip out to sea using one of the many commercial operators would be best.

For more information on marine wildlife to be seen, checkout Dorset based conservation charity MARINElife’s website www.marine-life.org.uk or https://www.facebook.com/MARINElifeSouthwestSightings

Cetacean map
Lyme Bay Map of cetacean species recorded (©MARINElife)

Grey – Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin and rarely Risso’s Dolphin
Brown – White-beaked Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin and rarely Minke Whale and Risso’s Dolphin
Yellow – coastal Bottlenose Dolphin
Dark yellow – coastal Bottlenose Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise

Small boat operators in Dorset offer day trips from Poole, Weymouth, West Bay and other locations. These are a great way to get you to areas known to have previous sightings, but be aware there are no guarantees as most species are highly mobile!

Condor Ferries Poole-Jersey crossing offer’s further opportunities for boat based cetacean watching with MARINElife conducting mid-week wildlife watching trips with a Wildlife Officer (WLO) from April to September. Species recorded on these include: Minke Whale, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise. More information can be found on their website.

Photo credits: MARINElife/Rick Morris