SNP - Tom Wills

Letters / Rewilded croft’s breeding success

Flawton Croft mute swans with cygnets.

I thought this might be of interest to your readers; for once something of a non-controversial nature.

My croft, Flawton, Clousta I acquired the tenancy of in 1992. I, as with all new croft tenants, sought approval from the Crofting Commission and did so, entirely putting my tenancy application forward as a wildlife and conservation project.

Many in Shetland, the late Bobby Tulloch, botanist Walter Scott and Francis Walterson, being just three Shetland folk of many, advised me. I was further advised by the departments of botany and biological sciences of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen universities.

Flawton Croft whooper swans.

Now after nearly 30 years of tree planting, wildflower encouragement and when possible over winter Shetland pony grazing the ground is transforming with much new wildlife established and thriving

Perhaps the most spectacular being on a small Loch on the croft, the Loch of Setter.

Setter has just had its fourth successful hatch of swan cygnets.  As far as I am aware there is no record of swans ever nesting on Setter before the croft was rewilded and set aside.

Making this latest hatch of swans more remarkable is that this brood is the second brood is of whooper swans on Setter, the previous two successful hatchings being mute swans. As far as I am aware, this breeding record is unique to the UK, certainly to Shetland.

I enclose photos of the mutes and whoopers. I would ask anyone who wishes to visit to be extremely discrete. The latest whooper cygnets hatched last week and disturbance must be minimal.

Ian Tinkler
Clousta

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