For 15 years New Forest Activities has run guided tours on the Beaulieu River in open Canadian canoes and individual kayaks, originally all under the sister brand of Liquid Logistics. Over the years as the company has grown and more activities have become available, the guided canoeing and kayaking tours remain as popular as ever and it’s easy to see why.

The Beaulieu River is a stunning setting in The New Forest National Park and is home to an abundance of wildlife that lives in and around this picturesque river, paddling on the river with an expert is an enviromentally safe way to enjoy seeing all these forms of wildlife in their natural habitat.

As part of our 15th year birthday celebrations we have put together 15 types of Beaulieu River wildlife that you might be lucky enough to spot whilst paddling on the river!

1) The Godwit is a wading bird that has a long bill and long legs, allowing it to wander along the riverbank probing deeply in the riverbed for aquatic worms and mollusks.

2) Sea Bass can be spotted underneath the water’s surface. It’s a common fish name and there are various species swimming in the Beaulieu River.

3) Moon Jellyfish are plentiful in the Beaulieu River, especially in the warm summer months. They float gently with the flow of the river and unlike most jellyfish they don’t have a sting, you may be able to gently scoop one out of the water, but make sure you carefully put them back shortly after.

Gently handling jellyfish on the Beaulieu River

Gently handling jellyfish on the Beaulieu River

4) The Lapwing is a bird that has a spectacular songflight and can be seen zigzagging, rolling and diving, and producing a wailing cry. Recognisable by their iridescent dark green and purple wings and pink legs.

5) The Curlew is easily recognisable by it’s long slender bill that curves down. They have mottled brown plumage and can be seen along the water’s edge.

6) Oyster Catchers are a small wading bird, look out for their black and white feathers and orange/red bill. They love to eat the mussels and cockles found in the river.

7) Sandpipers are another type of wading bird that love to wander along the riverbank. One of the smaller waders, they are contrasting  brown on top and white underneath.

Sandpiper catching a crab on the Beaulieu River

Sandpiper catching a crab on the Beaulieu River (Photo credit: Bobbie Torkington shortlisted for Bucklers Hard photo competition 2017)

8) Buzzards are a medium-to-large bird of prey, with an eagle-like look. As you paddle down the river keep an eye in the trees along the riverside, you may see one resting in the branches.

9) Kingfishers are stunning bright blue and orange birds that love to eat the fish in the river. You may spot one on a low hanging branch before it dives in for the catch!

10) Heron are easily recognised for their long legs and long necks. With a large wingspan they are easy to spot as they glide over the river, wading in the shallows fishing for their lunch.

11) Cormorants also have a long neck, but much shorter legs and a stout beak. They are quite large, black, birds, that also enjoy fishing from the Beaulieu River.

12) Osprey are another eagle-like bird of prey that like to swoop in for large fish in the river. Incredibly this bird became extinct in England for 150 years before being reintroduced in the 1950s, so spotting one on the Beaulieu River is a real treat.

Osprey spotted on the Beaulieu River

Osprey spotted on the Beaulieu River

13) Deer are commonly spotted in The New Forest, and even from your canoe or kayak you may spot one grazing amongst the trees along the riverside.

14) Crabs can be spotted in the shallows of the riverbank in numerous shapes and sizes. You’ll have to be quick to spot them as they will rush off and hide if they see you coming!

15) Seal, yes you read that correctly! Beaulieu River has its own resident seal that loves to swim up the river and say hello to our paddlers!

Seal spotted on the Beaulieu Rive

Seal spotted on the Beaulieu River

Our list of types of wildlife on the Beaulieu River could go on! No matter what the time of year there is an abundance of wildlife in and along the river, and the best way to see them in their natural environment is by canoe or kayak!

Have you got a photo of something you’ve spotted whilst out paddling with us? Or a memory to share? Why not share with us on Instagram using #NewForestFun!