New Bird Observatory Opens in Shetlands
A £4million, brand new bird observatory has opened on Fair Isle in the Shetland Islands after a long construction period beset by the collapse of the original building contractor, before a new one took over. Virtually the entire population of Fair Isle – about 70 residents – attended the observatory’s opening on Saturday. Chairman of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust (FIBOT), Rodger Riddington, described being at the opening as a real “pleasure, privilege, and relief”.
“I think it’s absolutely imperative we see this development, not as a full stop, but as the start of a new chapter,” he said. “Our seabirds are having a tough time, but there are still lots of opportunities for the Fair Isle Bird Observatory.”
Fair Isle residents themselves raised about £100,000 to contribute to the observatory’s opening. In one case, a £10,000 cheque had been sent anonymously from just one person. The Scottish government was another major funder, giving almost £1.2 million through its rural development programme.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise, meanwhile, gave almost £360,000 to the cause.