Fetlar Museum Digitisation Project

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Wildlife History
Fetlar has always been one of Britain's most unique spots for observation of birds and wildlife, whether on land or offshore. The recording and observation of wildlife over the last 100 years has sometimes taken forms which are ironic by today's standards. For example, the Brough Lodge game books kept extensive records of populations of snipe and other game birds for shooting purposes, as well as fish stocks in lochs, but without these records we would probably have no accurate data at all for these periods. The lairds and their guests kept records of rare sightings of flora and fauna, and Leagarth parties of guests also kept accurate angling records throughout the 20th century.

Guests of the laird took important wildlife photographs, but one local island photogapher in particular is responsible for the most extensive collection. His name was Ian Petrie and he lived at Setter. He documented birds, nests and other wildlife, mostly during the 1930s and 40s, and left a photographic record on glass negatives, which have been digitised during Fetlar Museum Trust's project.

The most recent era of importance in Fetlar's wildlife history occurred in the 1960s and 70s when Snowy Owls nested in the heathland in the centre of the island. They remained for several years, and a number of chicks hatched and grew to maturity. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) established a reserve on the island where the birds and their nests were protected, and a number of items from this era are now on display at Fetlar Interpretive Centre. The last female Snowy Owl disappeared at the end of the 1980s, and the owls have rarely been seen since. Today, the main wildlife attraction on Fetlar is the Red-necked phalarope. Around 90% of the British breeding population can be found from May-August at the Loch of Funzie on the east side of the island.

Click on a thumbnail picture below to view a larger image and a full detailed description.
Telescope Binoculars Field telephone Whalebone Bird notes, pages 3 & 4
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Click on a thumbnail picture below to view a larger image and a full detailed description.
A bird hide Seal carving
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Funded by:
Heritage Lottery Fund
Heritage Lottery Fund

© Fetlar Interpretive Centre
Beach of Houbie, Fetlar, Shetland, ZE2 9DJ
Tel: 01957 733206 email: info@fetlar.com