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On the Mainland of Orkney this reserve is an area of marshes lying within a basin in the Old Red Sandstone hills. It contains grazing marshes, flooded in winter, old peat-workings and part of the shore of the Loch of Isbister.
Important for breeding waterfowl, gulls, terns and waders in summer and visited by geese and ducks in winter.
 Notable Species
Eight species of duck breed including Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail and Red-breasted Merganser. Waders include Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Common Snipe and Common Redshank, and there are colonies of Common Gull and Black-headed Gull as well as Arctic Tern. Corn Crake is sometimes present in summer.
Greenland White-front Goose regularly winter as well as several duck species.
Birds you can see here include:
Greater White-fronted Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser, Corn Crake, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Common Snipe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Arctic Tern, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Sedge Warbler
 Other Wildlife
Interesting plants such as Lesser Bladderwort Utricularia minor and Knotted Pearlwort Sagina nodosa, Grass of Parnassus Parnassia palustris, Bog Pimpernel Anagallis tenella and Alpine Meadow-rue Thalictrum alpinum grow here and orchids include Northern Marsh Dactylorhiza purpurella, Early Marsh Dactylorhiza incarnata and Heath Spotted Dactylorhiza maculata.
The subspecifically distinct Orkney Vole Microtus arvalis orcadensis is common, this is a race of a Continental species of vole not found on mainland Britain. Otter Lutra lutra is sometimes present. Common Toad Bufo bufo is the only amphibian present.
 Site Information
 Access and Facilities
The reserve is situated in the north-west of Mainland, Orkney, and can be reached from the minor road which leaves the A986 to the west just north of Twatt and about 5km north of Dounby.
There is public access to a hide on the west side of the reserve but the remainder is closed to prevent disturbance.
Grid Ref: HY246241
There is also an elevated viewpoint towards Twatt from the hide at HY252245, where there is parking for two cars.
 Contact Details
Tel: 01856 850176
 External Links
Content and images originally posted by Steve
The Loons were often visited while on Orkney. It is an excellent location with information at the side of the road about it, as well as a decent hide a bit further up the road with good views of the ponds in front.
Birds seen while there include the usual oyster-catchers, black headed gulls, shovellers, widgeon, herrons, snipe, arctic tern and many others including the odd sighting of the local bonxies (great skua).
In mid summer it doesn't get dark till after midnight, and then it's only dusk.