SPA description
(information as published 2001)


image: SPA location map 


Switha is a small, uninhabited, low-lying grassy island at the southern end of the Orkney archipelago in northern Scotland. It lies 2 km east of South Walls (Hoy) and 2 km south of the island of Flotta. Switha has a rocky coastline with cliffs along the north, east and west shores, and is almost totally covered by maritime grassland, with smaller areas of heath and bog. Switha is of importance as a winter roosting site for Greenland Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis


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:
Over winter;
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis, 1,000 individuals representing at least 3.7% of the wintering population in Great Britain (winter peak mean)



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.