Bressay Nature And Wildlife
Bressay and the neighbouring island of Noss are fantastic places to see a variety of bird life.
Curlew, Golden Plover, Skylark and Meadow Pipit are all common sights on the moorland. Red-throated Divers can be found on some lochs and several species of wader can be seen throughout the island, including Oystercatchers and Lapwings, while Snipe can often be heard ‘drumming’ overhead in the summer months.
The area is perhaps best known for its seabirds. Bressay and Noss are made up of old red sandstone from the Devonian period (about 400-350 million years ago). It has eroded over millennia into a series of rounded hills and jaw-dropping sea cliffs, such as the 150 metre high Ord, the long finger of the bard and a stunning natural arch known as the ‘giant’s leg’. At the Noss National Nature Reserve, erosion of the cliffs has created numerous ledges that provide ideal nesting sites for tens of thousands of seabirds, including the second largest Gannetry in Shetland.
The combination of cliffs, rocky headlands and sheltered inlets create a perfect coastal habitat for grey and common seals which can often be seen basking on the rocks. Porpoises, dolphins and whales are occasionally seen in and round the Noss Sound area and along the Bressay coast. The voes (inlets) in and around the east side of the island are an ideal location for Otter watching.
During the summer months, roadside verges and fields are ablaze with a colourful tapestry of Buttercups, Red Campion, Clovers, Orchids and other wild flowers. Moorland areas are equally colourful with the flowers of Heather, Thyme, Bog Cotton, Tormentil and Heath-spotted Orchid.