SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands

image: SPA location map 

 

Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands SPA is located in south-west Scotland. It comprises three adjacent upland areas (situated to the north and south of the town of Muirkirk, and the northern Lowther Hills), together with Airds Moss, a low-lying blanket bog situated between the two upland areas of north and south Muirkirk. The predominant habitats include semi-natural areas of blanket bog, acid grassland and heath. There are a range of blanket bog and wet heath types found within the site, influenced by a variety of land management practices and other impacts, including drainage, grazing or heather burning (or a combination of these factors). Stock grazing and moorland management for Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scoticus are the two main current land uses. Large areas of the uplands (totalling about 80% of the area) are managed for grouse shooting, but the type and frequency of moorland management is variable in different areas. This, and patterns of agricultural management, create a diverse mix of upland habitats. Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands is of special nature conservation importance within Britain and Europe for its outstanding breeding assemblage of upland birds. The site regularly supports populations of European importance of five Annex I species: Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus (a species also present in winter), Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus, Merlin Falco columbarius, Peregrine Falco peregrinus and Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria

 


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;
 
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria, 175 pairs representing at least 0.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Mid-1990s)
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 30 pairs representing at least 6.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (1998 national survey)
 
Merlin Falco columbarius, 12 pairs representing at least 0.9% of the breeding population in Great Britain
 
Peregrine Falco peregrinus, 9 pairs representing at least 0.8% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Mid-1990s)
 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus, 30 pairs representing at least 3.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Mid-1990s)
 
Over winter;
 
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 10 individuals representing at least 1.3% of the wintering population in Great Britain (RSPB survey mid 1990s)

 


Note:

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