The RSPB manages 13 nature reserves across Orkney making the islands a popular destination for birdwatchers and of course the many species of resident and migrating birds who take up residence here throughout the year.

With a coastline, sea cliffs, wetland and moorland habitats, meadows and farmland, it is perhaps no surprise that Orkney attracts a staggering number of birds - including some rare visitors. It is on record as being the best place in the UK for seabirds, with 21 breeding species. The theatre of the famed 'seabird cities' of fulmars, guillemots and kittiwakes on Orkney's coastal cliffs should not be missed!

Inland, expect to see wildfowl and waders in the wetlands, while the moors are hunting ground for hen harriers, short-eared owls and red-throated divers. At night across the farmland, you may also hear the secretive corncrake - although it's much more difficult to spot one!

Under the watchful eye of RSPB experts, the reserves provide a safe, natural environment for birdlife of all varieties. And on Orkney, they occupy some of the wildest and most extreme landscapes in the UK, while inland the habitat is much more tranquil.

This is echoed as the landscape takes on the colours of the seasons. The summer months are breeding time for the seabird colonies, while the spectacle of thousands of migrating and wintering birds in flight during the darker nights will stay with you for a long time.

Wildlife & Nature - Listings