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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 3o 13.75' West  59o 0.90' North
IBA criteria B1i, B2, C3
Area 1,779 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description Run-off from a large part of Orkney's West Mainland enters the sea via these two lochs. The shallow freshwater Loch of Harray becomes brackish at the junction with the Loch of Stenness, which is entirely brackish and classed as a lagoon. The flora and fauna therefore consists of brackish, marine and freshwater species. The lochs support large numbers of wintering wildfowl. Anser anser are from the Icelandic breeding population.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  2001-2006  2,296 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila passage  2001-2006  173 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila winter  2001-2006  451 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Loch of Stenness Habitats Directive 792 protected area contained by site 792  
Lochs of Harray and Stenness Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 1,930 is identical to site 1,779  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish and salt water; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 100%
water management 100%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lochs of Harray and Stenness. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/08/2014

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