There’s been lots happening around Shetland over the winter but now that Spring is finally starting to appear we thought we’d bring you an update on what has been happening on our reserves.

At Sumburgh Head  we’ve been working on preparing an area for planting trees. Assistant Warden Lizzy has been leading on this with the help of some wonderful volunteers. The main focus so far has been making the area safe from rabbits and sheep, whilst creating as much wind shelter as possible.

A work party at Sumburgh Head

Puffins were seen on the cliffs for the first time this year on Tuesday 9th April. They’ll be back at forth to the water and cliffs over the next few weeks as they re-acquaint themselves with their mates and burrows. The best time to see them on the cliffs will be early in the morning and in the evening on calm days. You can always check the webcams to see if they’re about before heading down.

Puffin on the cliffs (from 2023)

I managed to get across to Mousa  for the first visit of the season. I walked the trail with Rodney from The Mousa Boat so we could inspect the winter damage. There’s plenty for us to do to get everything back in order – a seal managed to break one of the bridges, ropes have snapped and posts have become wonky thanks to sheep using them as scratching posts. Unfortunately, the weather and tides have been against us but getting back across to carry out this repair work. Fingers crossed it improves next week.

Mousa Broch

In the hide at Loch of Spiggie  we’ve just installed our Spiggie gallery – a chance to showcase art from members of the community. Our first artist is 9 year old Eli who is a photographer. His work will be in the hide for a little while so pop down and have a look whilst also looking for some spring migrants.

In Fetlar and Unst the sites are ready and waiting for our breeding birds to return. Areas that grazing couldn’t reach were hand cut and water levels have been raised to create open pools and wet flushes – waders need a mix of micro habitats to meet their different needs. I’m counting down the days until our phalaropes return – only a month to go!


Recent sightings

It’s an exciting time of year as our winter visitors head north, the breeding birds return and migrants pass through Shetland.

Sumburgh Head

Puffins, Guillemot, FulmarRaven , Twite, Wheatear, Swallow, Dunnock, House Martin 

Loch of Spiggie

Greenshank, Black-headed Gull . Chiffchaff , Goldcrest , Linnet, Tufted Duck , Whooper Swan , Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan , Redshank, Teal, Sand Martin, Scaup, Hen Harrier, Dunnock, Brambling