SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Skokholm and Skomer

image: SPA location map 

 

Skomer, Skokholm and Middleholm are three islands lying off the extreme south-west tip of Pembrokeshire in south-west Wales. They are bounded by cliffs that reach 70 m on Skomer. The plateau vegetation is much affected by salt spray, rabbit grazing and nutrient enrichment from seabirds. The islands have mixed grassland and maritime heath vegetation in varying proportions, and on Skomer especially there are now large stands of Bracken Pteridium aquilinum. The coastal habitats of the SPA support an important resident population of Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax. These birds nest at high density in traditional locations within the cliffs and depend on the diverse mix of coastal habitats present and their low-intensity agricultural management. The islands also support a large number of breeding seabirds, especially petrels, gulls and auks. Especially notable is the high proportion (over half) of the world population of Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus that nest here. The nesting seabirds using the site feed outside the SPA in surrounding marine areas, as well as more distantly. 

 


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;
 
Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, 4 pairs representing at least 1.2% of the breeding population in Great Britain
 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus, 6 pairs representing at least 0.6% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1998)
 
Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus, 3,500 pairs representing at least 4.1% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1995)
 

 

This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
 
During the breeding season;
 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, 20,300 pairs representing at least 16.4% of the breeding Western Europe/Mediterranean/Western Africa population (Mean 1993 to 1997)
 
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus, 150,968 pairs representing at least 56.9% of the breeding population (Count, as at late 1990s)
 
Puffin Fratercula arctica, 9,500 pairs representing at least 1.1% of the breeding population (Count, as at mid-1980s)
 

 

Assemblage qualification: A seabird assemblage of international importance
 
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 seabirds
 
During the breeding season, the area regularly supports 67,278 individual seabirds (Count period ongoing) including: Razorbill Alca torda, Guillemot Uria aalge, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Puffin Fratercula arctica, Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus, Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus.

 


Note:

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
 
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.