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Cottascarth and Rendall Moss

Wildlife awards

Cottascarth and Rendall Moss is one of the best places for wildlife in the UK.

Important notice

The reserve is currently closed for building works. We're creating a new car park and a viewing hide out of the old croft ruins - it will be a brilliant place for watching hen harriers and will include space for school visits. We're sorry there is no access at present but hope everyone will enjoy the new facilities which are likely to be opened in April.

Top things to do in Spring

  1. Visit the Cottascarth Hide and watch the sky-dancing hen harrier displays
  2. One of the best places to hear and see cuckoos on Orkney
  3. On the walk to the hide look out for 'parachuting' meadow pipits and calling stonechats

Top things to do in Summer

  1. Visit the Cottascarth Hide and watch for up to five species of birds of prey
  2. On the walk to the hide, look out for meadow pipits and stonechats feeding newly-fledged young
  3. Short-eared owls will be active during the day looking for Orkney voles to feed their young

Top things to do in Autumn

  1. Visit the Cottascarth Hide and watch for up to five species of birds of prey
  2. Watch out for migrating geese and thrushes arriving from the north
  3. Scan the surrounding farmland for large flocks of curlews that gather there

Top things to do in Winter

  1. Look out for red grouse which live on the reserve
  2. At dusk, a trip to the hide may result in good views of roosting hen harriers or ravens
  3. Farmland across the Rendall area fills with Icelandic greylag geese in the winter months

Your photos

  • Egilsay bee crops come alive
  • Short-eared Owl - 25/05/2013, AJL
  • Short-eared Owl in flight at the Harray Road end 25/05/2013, AJL
  • Still Enjoying Wild Orkney
  • Enjoying Wild Orkney
  • Black Guillemot portrait
  • Tystie Dispute?
  • Drakes

View more photos

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