SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Hermaness, Saxa Vord and Valla Field

image: SPA location map 

 

Hermaness, Saxa Vord and Valla Field SPA is located at the northernmost part of the Shetland island of Unst, Scotland, the most northerly part of the UK. The vegetation of Hermaness is mainly Calluna/Eriophorum blanket bog, with acidic grassland together with small oligotrophic lochans and streams. More species-rich closely grazed, maritime grasslands line the cliff tops. The cliffs of Hermaness, Saxa Vord and the off-lying stacks (including Muckle Flugga) are mostly 100-200 m high. The site is important for a number of breeding seabird species that nest on both the extensive cliffs as well as on the heathland and grassland parts of the site. The seabirds feed outside the SPA in nearby waters, as well as more distantly elsewhere in the North Atlantic. 

 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section


This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
 
During the breeding season;
 
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata, 28 pairs representing at least 3.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (1994-1996)
 
 
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
 
During the breeding season;
 
Gannet Morus bassanus, 12,000 pairs representing at least 4.6% of the breeding North Atlantic population (Count, as at 1994)
 
Great Skua Catharacta skua, 630 pairs representing at least 4.6% of the breeding World population (Count, as at 1997)
 
Puffin Fratercula arctica, 25,400 pairs representing at least 2.8% of the breeding population (Count, as at 1987)
 
 
Assemblage qualification: A seabird assemblage of international importance
 
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 seabirds
 
During the breeding season, the area regularly supports 152,000 individual seabirds including: Guillemot Uria aalge, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Puffin Fratercula arctica, Great Skua Catharacta skua, Gannet Morus bassanus.

 


Note:

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
 
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.