Visitors welcomed back to Noss National Nature Reserve (NNR)

30 April 2024

Noss National Nature Reserve (NNR) will reopen to the public again tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 May) with a new-look visitor centre.

The Noss ferry is preparing to resume service for the season and NatureScot wardens Jen Clark - returning to the post for her seventh season - and new recruit Aidan Doherty are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the spectacular Shetland island.

The visitor centre at Noss has been given a refresh for 2024, with new information panels on the island’s marine life and seabirds, thousands of which return to breed on the cliffs each summer.

This year, biosecurity measures introduced in the wake of the avian flu outbreak that swept through Shetland’s great skua (bonxie) and gannet colonies in 2022 will remain in place to continue to protect seabird populations. This will include visitors being asked to clean footwear on disinfectant mats on arrival and departure.

Thankfully no bonxies and only one gannet were recorded with bird flu in 2023. However, a census carried out last year revealed the ongoing impact of the outbreak. Bonxies, for which Shetland is a global stronghold, were down by 85% at Noss with declines in gannets of 10%.

Juan Brown, NatureScot Operations Officer in Shetland, said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to one of the most important seabird colonies in Scotland and hope they will enjoy the revamped visitor centre.

“While we are hopeful this will be a better year for the Noss seabirds, our census shows the heavy toll avian flu has already taken on our bonxie and gannet populations. It’s important that we remain vigilant and that’s why we’ll continue to keep biosecurity measures in place at Noss and our other island NNRs as a safeguard.

“We’d like to thank visitors for continuing to support these measures and helping protect our precious seabird populations.”

Visitors are encouraged to ring the Noss Information Line on 0800 1077818 after 8am on the day of travel to check for weather disruptions. More information is available at Noss National Nature Reserve