This is an island off the north-east coast of the mainland in the Orkney archipelago, in northern Scotland. The site is made up of two parts, one is located at the north-west and the other the north-east end of the island. The site is home to a range of breeding seabirds, including terns, auks, gulls and skuas. Nesting seabirds feed in the waters around the island.
MPA TypeSpecial 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 date1 February 2000
Surface Area54.84 km2 (21.17 mi.2)
Perimeter71.76 km (44.59 mi.)
Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Almost gull-like, this grey and white seabird is related to the albatrosses. It flies low over the sea on stiff wings.
Seabird assemblage (Seabird assemblage)
Important areas where a number of seabird species occur in significant numbers.
Common guillemot (Uria aalge)
One of the most common birds breeding on sheer, crowded cliffs known as ‘seabird cities’. This seabird only comes to land to breed and spends the rest of its life at sea.
Arctic skua (Stercorarius parasiticus)
A medium-sized dark seabird that only comes to shore to breed. It is known to chase other birds to try and steal food and can be aggressive towards intruders that venture near its’ nest.
Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
A bird with one of the longest migrations of any bird species. They often travel between the Arctic and Antarctic each year. They breed in coastal colonies, and feed mostly on small fish which they pick from the top few centimetres of the water column.
Did you know?…
Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers
To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’