During the summer months Shetland plays host to over a million breeding seabirds - more than a tenth of the British total! Here, Atlantic waters mix with those from the North Sea and along with the actions of the wind and tide bring large quantities of nutrients near to the surface. As daylight lengthens during the northern spring masses of phytoplankton and then zooplankton form the foundation of the food chain that provides food for these seabirds as well as for commercial fish stocks.
enlarge In addition to the spectacular large seabird colonies complete with Gannetries, at Fair Isle, Foula, Noss and Hermaness, smaller sites such as Sumburgh Head allow very close access to breeding seabirds, including many people's favourite the Puffin. On Mousa, Storm Petrels come ashore in the late evening to visit their nest sites in the World famous Mousa Broch. Great and Arctic Skuas can be found on moorland while Arctic Terns breed in many of the more sheltered voes. Indeed during summer, seabirds are almost a permanent companion along any piece of Shetland coastline.
These websites will help you to plan how to discover Shetland's seabirds, identify them, and find out more about their busy and often complex, lifestyles.
Download Our Brochure
For more information about Sea Birds, download our free Sea Birds brochure [.pdf approx. 1,5Mb]