...And Other Rarities
About 80 pairs of Whimbrel (15% of the UK breeding population) also nest in Fetlar. Whimbrels are very similar to their larger cousins, the Curlews, but have a pale stripe through the centre of the crown and a characteristic and evocative call. A good place to see them is along the road to the airstrip. Fetlar was once home to Britain's only pair of breeding Snowy Owls. Recorded in 1967 by the late Bobby Tulloch, they bred successfully each year until 1975.
Other Fetlar bird life includes Red-Throated Diver, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Eider Duck, Arctic Skua, Great Skua, Arctic Tern and Oystercatchers. Storm Petrels and Manx Shearwaters are usually around the Wick of Tresta in the late summer evenings and early mornings, while Fulmars, Black Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Shags and Puffins can be seen all around the coast.
Nowhere in Shetland are the summer wildflowers more luxuriant than in the rich soils of Fetlar. From April to August a succession of blooms brightens the landscape. The rarer varieties include the Frog Orchid, Creeping Willow, Water Aven, Knotted Pearlwort and Lesser Twayblade.