Fetlar's unspoilt landscapes and the traditional crofting lifestyle make the island an ideal place to witness wildlife in its natural habitat. Depending on the time of year, visitors may well enjoy encounters with marine mammals, rare birds and beautiful wildflowers.


The breeding birds start returning in numbers in April with some rare migrant sightings in May. The puffins are usually back by the second week in April, the Red-necked Phalarope by the end of the second week in May (leaving by the end of the first week in August). Great Skua, Golden Plover, Snipe and Curlew are all plentiful on the island.


June is the best month for wildflowers in Fetlar. At the beginning of the month you can see the end of the spring squill and throughout the month wild orchids should be blooming. The heath-spotted orchid is plentiful, as is the northern marsh orchid and some early purple orchids. If you are not used to Shetland flowers you may have to look carefully, as they might be smaller than you expect!

Marine life

There are plenty of otters about, but whether you see one is down to luck. Look for anywhere a burn meets the sea, and where there is plenty of kelp. If you sit quietly for long enough, the chances are you will see one.

There are plenty of seals too, and on a sunny day they often haul out on rocks around the bays and geos.

If you are lucky, you will see some fins in the sea. These could be dolphins, porpoises or whales. Orca and dolphins are sometimes seen from the ferry, and if they are the captain will usually divert to give passengers a good view.