Inner Moray Firth SPA

Status: Designated

Description

Site overview

This site is located to the north of Inverness in Scotland and is one of the major arms of the Moray Firth. It comprises the Beauly Firth and Inverness Firth (including Munlochy Bay). Beds of eelgrass grow here alongside glasswort and algae, all provide important food sources for large numbers of wintering and migrating waterbirds (swans, geese, ducks and waders). 

MPA Type

Special Protection Area

Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.

Designation date

1 March 1999

Surface Area

22.91 km2 (8.85 mi.2)

Perimeter

171.41 km (106.51 mi.)

  • Greylag goose (Anser anser )

    The largest of the wild gesse in the UK, the greylag is the ancestor of most domestic geese. The native birds and wintering flocks found in Scotland retain the special appeal of truly wild geese.

  • Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)

    A long-billed, long-legged wading bird that visits the UK in the winter.

  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

    The number of these spectacular fish-eating birds of prey was dramatically reduced due to illegal killing and there are now very low breeding numbers in the UK.

  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo)

    A silvery-grey and white bird sometimes called a ‘sea swallow’ because of it’s long tail.

  • Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)

    A diving duck often seen in large groups during the non-breeding season. It feeds on small fish along with small amounts of vegetation and other tiny water animals.

  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

    As this bird’s name suggests, its’ most distinctive features are its’ bright orange-red legs.

  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes

Did you know?…

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To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

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