Cottascarth and Rendall Moss RSPB (c) Bill Boaden
Cottascarth and Rendall Moss RSPB

Cottascarth and Rendall Moss is an RSPB nature reserve north of Finstown. The reserve is a fantastic place to see breeding curlews and a good spot to spot hen harriers, merlins, and short-eared owls.

Curlew Haven

Though there are many different bird species to be found nearby, it is really the curlew that is the star species at Rendall Moss, for the reserve boasts one of the highest densities of breeding curlews anywhere in Europe.

Winter highlights include blackbirds and snipe, while in the spring cuckoos and skylarks abound. Birds of prey are best seen in the summer and autumn, with kestrel and lapwings in addition to the species already mentioned. Look for female hen harriers over the moorland.


Access to the reserve is off the A966 between Finstow and Tingwall. A minor road leads west off the A966 at Norseman Village towards Settisgarth, then north to Lower Cottascarth Farm where there is a parking area.

There is a bird hide at Cottascarth, where five different species of birds of prey can be seen. The reserve is open at any time, and special information packs for families can be obtained from the RSPB centre in Stromness.