East Sanday Coast SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is on the island of Sanday in the Orkney Islands of northern Scotland. The site is made up of 55 km of coast. The coastline supports internationally important populations of wintering 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 August 1997

Surface Area

15.09 km2 (5.83 mi.2)


187.57 km (116.55 mi.)

  • Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

    A small shore bird whose name refers to its habit of creeping and fluttering over rocks, picking out food from under stones.

  • Purple sandpiper (Calidris maritima)

    A medium-sized wading bird. While they are mainly just winter visitors to the UK there are a couple of breeding pairs. The breeding areas in Scotland are kept secret to protect the birds from egg thieves and disturbance. 

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

Did you know?…

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

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed