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Exciting new development needs local support - please!

25th January 2021

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Photograph of Exciting new development needs local support - please!

St John's Pool Bird Reserve near Dunnet is a unique visitor attraction in the north of Scotland.

With over 200 bird species recorded since 1989, and the largest tern colony in Caithness, it is a spectacular summer experience for anyone interested in nature.

But it needs your help to develop into an even more impressive haven for birds - and for people to enjoy. We just need to show the funding bodies that there is genuine community support.

If you would like to see the SJP 2020 Project succeed (see below) - please write a letter or email to by 31 January 2021, highlighting the reasons.

It could be because you miss the amazing views of special birds, the buzz and excitement of the breeding season or simply the mental boost you get from your visits - whatever it is, we want to hear about it please!

Many thanks indeed and hopefully we can all meet up and watch birds someday at SJP - just like the old times!

Happy birding,

Julian and Rosemary Smith

PS Please visit for more updates and details on access in 2021.

The Works:
SJP 2020 PROJECT builds on all the work achieved since 1989 and is designed to take the reserve forward more sustainably over the next decades - but with added emphasis on helping disability
groups and schoolchildren, and involving the community in 'citizen science'.

The four main threads to this new development are:
To upgrade the all-ability access from carpark to photo hide to allow free access for wheelchair users and other disability groups and offer the best possible views of birds;

To install a new water management system - to provide solar powered delivery, control and aeration of water across the site;

To provide rat-proof nesting facilities for terns - to eliminate the high annual loss of eggs and chicks which is preventing the colony becoming stabilised.

To install remote cameras within the tern colonies to monitor breeding success and identify the food items terns are feeding their chicks. This might help give an insight into the resource and productivity of the Pentland Firth and Dunnet Bay.

Please note:
This is a major project and will take many months to complete. If the grant funding is approved the work may not be finished until the end of 2021 or beyond. However, the work will not disrupt the main
breeding season activities. Our intention (Covid restrictions allowing) is to try and open the reserve on a 'by appointment only' basis. If this is something you are interested in please let us know.

See many more photos taken of birds in Caithness in previous years