SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Ythan Estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch

image: SPA location map 

 

Ythan Estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch are located north of Aberdeen on the east coast of Scotland. The site comprises the long, narrow estuary of the River Ythan and Meikle Loch. At its mouth, the river splits an extensive area of sand dunes with the Forveran Links on the west bank and the Sands of Forvie dune system on the east bank. Extensive mud-flats in the upper reaches of the estuary are replaced by coarser gravels with Mussel Mytilus edulis beds closer to the sea. The margins of the estuary are varied, with areas of saltmarsh, reedbed and poor fen. Meikle Loch is an important roost site for geese, which feed away from the SPA on surrounding farmland in winter. It is a eutrophic loch supporting limited aquatic vegetation. In summer the coastal habitats of the dunes and estuary provide an important breeding site for three species of tern, whilst in winter the estuary holds large numbers of waders, ducks and geese. 

 


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;
 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo, 265 pairs representing up to 2.2% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at early 1990s)
 
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 41 pairs representing up to 1.7% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at early 1990s)
 
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis, 600 pairs representing up to 4.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Seabird Census Register)
 
 
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:
 
Over winter;
 
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, 17,213 individuals representing up to 7.7% of the wintering Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK population (winter peak means)
 
 
Assemblage qualification: A wetland of international importance.
 
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 waterfowl
 
Over winter, the area regularly supports 51,265 individual waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including: Redshank Tringa totanus, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Eider Somateria mollissima, Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus.

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.