Fetlar – the Garden of Shetland
Fetlar is known locally as ‘the garden of Shetland’. Its diversity of habitats with rich fertile soils, serpentine heath and blanket bog, hosts the highest densities of breeding waders in Shetland. It is a beautiful island with breathtaking scenery and is an island steeped in ornithological history and hosts several RSPB reserves. This is the island that hosted Britain’s only ever successful breeding pair of Snowy Owl’s during the 1960’s and 1970’s.
It is a stronghold for nationally rare and scarce breeding moorland species such as Whimbrel, Red-throated diver, Arctic Skua and most famous of all is of course the beautiful Red-necked Phalarope, which is still a true Fetlar specialty as the island boasts over 95% of the British breeding population. Famed for their role reversal in the rearing of chicks and plumage, the phalaropes are one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds and with patience, luck and our local knowledge we hope to see these charismatic little waders.
We will enjoy a short leisurely stroll along low headland of the eastern side of the island to see the rare rock type, known as the Funzie conglomerate, which is unique to the island and can be seen exposed the way along eastern cliffs. From here we will also scan the open sea and with a bit of luck catch a glimpse of a Porpoise or Minke whale, which are often seen off shore. There is also the chance of an otter encounter too along some of the islands more remote stretches of shoreline.