The reserve comprises the uninhabited main island of Copinsay, three smaller islets of Corn Holm, Ward Holm, Black Holm and the Horse of Copinsay. Copinsay is mainly covered in grass, with 10 ha of arable, hay and pasture managed as cover for corncrake. There are fine colonies of oysterplant and sea aster on the islands.
More than 1,000 pairs of fulmars nest on Copinsay, which has nearly a mile of vertical cliffs up to 76 metres high.
There is a vast seabird colony on the cliffs, with around 20,000 guillemots, 700 razorbills, 600 puffins and about 4,500 pairs of kittiwakes. Black guillemots and shags also nest here and there are great black-backed gull colonies.
Several hundred Arctic terns may nest on the islands and there are eiders, twites, wheatears and ravens on Copinsay in the breeding season. In autumn, a colony of around 2,000 grey seals comes ashore to pup.
Copinsay was bought as a memorial to the naturalist James Fisher.
Where is Copinsay?
This site is one of several that due to its size, location and/or conservation sensitivity is not capable of accommodating large numbers of visitors (unless stated).
Where possible, we have indicated the nearest equivalent RSPB nature reserve suitable for visiting. If you require further information, please use the contact details provided.
This does not affect any statutory rights of access under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act or Land Reform (Scotland) Act legislation.
For more information