SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Gruinart Flats, Islay

image: SPA location map 


Gruinart Flats are located on the Hebridean island of Islay on the west coast of Scotland. The SPA comprises a diverse array of coastal habitats typical of western Scotland. The main features are a sheltered estuarine and intertidal sea loch (holding sand- and mud-flats as well as an extensive saltmarsh and sand dunes) surrounded by pastoral farmland and backed by semi-natural upland habitats (including ombrogenous peatlands). The grass fields of the farmland support large wintering goose populations which roost at night on the saltmarsh, whilst the intertidal areas support a diverse assemblage of wintering waterbirds important in a regional context. The entire population of the Greenland race of Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis arrives at the site in early autumn before dispersing to other wintering areas in Ireland and western Scotland. 


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, 20,000 individuals representing at least 74.1% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2-1995/6)
Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris, 1,000 individuals representing at least 7.1% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count, as at mid-1990s)



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.