Here is a UK wildlife safari weekend for those who would like to discover more about British wildlife in the depths of the beautiful Dorset countryside. It is a wildlife photographer’s paradise.
To bring you this two-day course, we’ve teamed up with wildlife specialists and conservationists, On Track Safaris, which gives us exclusive access to private woodland and heathland. This alliance offers our guests the most amazing wildlife experiences. To make the most of our time in this natural wilderness, we are provided with a guide for the weekend: a wildlife ranger with extensive knowledge of this species-rich area of Dorset; his job is to help us unlock the secret lives of the forest animals and birdlife - and he is very good at it.
Our UK wildlife safaris are based in the area of Dorset near to the picturesque market town of Wareham. We have privileged access to some of the most stunning natural habitats in the UK which include some very special National Nature Reserves; little wonder the area is known as the 'Jewels in the Crown' of UK Wildlife Sites. It is the precious nature of this mosaic of woodland and lowland heathland (a rarer habitat than rainforest) which makes the Isle of Purbeck the most bio-diverse area of the UK.
Local Expert Knowledge
Our wildlife expert and guide for the weekend, Mark Warn, has excellent credentials. He has been a Wildlife Ranger for thirty years and has studied the habits of the creatures for which this area is home.
Mark says, “I still have an absolute and unconditional passion for my vocation. Dorset is one of the most magical and diverse areas of the UK and continues to deliver the magical experiences that I have been so lucky to observe throughout my career. Sharing these special moments with others gives me one of the biggest buzzes in my day-to-day working life, and my years of experience within the area enable us to target the wonderful species that inhabit this special place.”
It would be difficult to imagine a more knowledgeable and accommodating guide. You will learn about the habits of many of the species you encounter and get some tips on fieldcraft at the same time. With Mark’s invaluable insights, you are well-placed to get some truly incredible shots.
Accompanying our guide will be APT’s qualified wildlife photographer and trainer, Steve Miller. Steve will be with you all weekend to ensure you learn the essential camera skills and the tried-and-tested techniques you need to shoot this fascinating genre - and achieve success time after time. With this solid grounding, you are well-equipped to take some fantastic captures of British wildlife: from the majesty of the larger mammals right down to the elusive beauty of the shy and diminutive reptiles inhabiting this incredibly bio-diverse area of the UK.
One of the beauties of this location is that you will be tracking animals in totally natural surroundings helped, of course, by Mark’s extensive knowledge and understanding of the creatures, the geography and the vegetation in the area. You are likely to see Sika deer, and we’ve timed our visit to coincide with the rut. Hopefully, we will catch some dramatic clashes between stags as they face off against each other. As well as the Sika, you are likely to encounter roe deer, foxes, badgers, smaller mammals, late reptiles and a multitude of seasonal birds. Autumn is a magical time here in Dorset and a gift for wildlife photographers.
Day 1: Friday PM
Our photography trainer and wildlife guide will meet you Friday afternoon to brief you about your weekend’s activities, the local habitats and associated wildlife conservation projects.
Day 2: Saturday
Today, you will be able to enjoy a dawn (and later) dusk nature walk in private forests, accompanied by your guide and wildlife photography trainer.
Each walk will be approximately two to three hours of easy walking and stalking in the forest. Your guide will stop frequently to let you know more about the flora and fauna, tracks of animals and their behaviour. We will take the opportunity to photograph what we see around us, while we search for the forest’s abundant wildlife species.
As with any safari, no two nature walks are the same; different conditions apply at dawn and at dusk affecting animals’ behaviour but rest assured that you are in the hands of a very experienced guide who know every nook and crook of the forest and is focused on finding you as many animals to watch as possible.
After our morning session, we leave Mark and Steve will take the group to RSPB Arne, stopping for breakfast/brunch on the way if we haven’t already eaten. RSPB Arne in Autumn attracts large movements of migrating birds, including osprey, heading south to a warmer climate or seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. The transfer is only about 25 minutes by car, and will give you a chance to practise some of the skills acquired earlier in the morning. Here, you are welcome to wander around the reserve by yourself or alternatively grab some 1-2-1 time with our wildlife photography trainer.
Day 3: Sunday AM
On your final morning, you can once again enjoy a two to three hour guided nature walk at dawn as the sun rises over the forest. It’s a truly magical time to be in this natural haven, away from the hustle and bustle of normal life.
On this last session, we’ll split into two groups. The first group will go off with Mark as he teaches the finer art of tracking and stalking wildlife. Group 2 will head off with Steve for an intensive hour of photography. The groups will swap around after approximately one hour, ensuring everyone gets the chance to experience both elements of the day’s training.
You will need:
To have a good basic knowledge of your camera: i.e. how to change between shooting modes, adjust ISO, shutter speed and aperture.
Lenses covering 70-300mm. If you have a 150-600 or similar please bring it along.
All-weather clothing in neutral colours (dark green, khaki, beige). Bright coloured clothing is not permitted
Comfortable walking boots
Binoculars (not essential)
This is a beginner/intermediate level course.
You should be familiar with your camera controls i.e. how to change between shooting modes, adjust ISO, shutter speed and aperture