16 November 2014

Arctic architecture - new wind shelters in Kongsfjord & Båtsfjord

The northern part of the Varanger peninsula has some of the most amazing landscape in Eastern Finnmark. Two of our favourite places to go birding are the small towns, Berlevåg and Båtsfjord. Both are fishing harbours with less then 2000 inhabitants. In addition we have the village Kongsfjord and Veines with just a handful of people living there. In this weatherbeaten and wild landscape you can now find
shelter from the wind at some spectacular sites. The building of two new bird hides and wind shelters designed by Biotope have recently been finalized. 

The Kongsfjord wind shelter 

This is a project we have worked on together with Åse Winsents of local guest house the Kongsfjord Gjestehus. Åse runs one of the finest guest houses in Northern Norway, with a brilliant restaurant. She has been a key player, together with Berlevåg municipality in making this project happen. The shelter itself is part of a bigger scheme of ´birdifying´ Varanger. It is a spectacular site. The shelter is part of a local bird conservation project aiming to protect the local bird life. We hope to make both a nature trail, info boards, block car traffic into the terrain and have web-cameras placed to protect and promote birds of the area. In recent years traffic to the area have increased, and we hope to keep improving the facilities in the area. 

This shelter is mainly a seawatching shelter, sat on top of a cliff with amazing views over the Barents Sea. The below photos are taken in early November this year. We had our lunch here, sheltered from the icy arctic wind. What a privilege to comfortably enjoy such a place!

click on any image for slide show view

Interior view of the hide

As far out on the cliff as you can go

The king of the cliff: On our recent visit to Kongsfjord we were treated with a brilliant fly by Gyrfalcon. A top predator in the Arctic (photo from same place, taken at Gullfest 2013)

The new Kongsfjord wind shelter is situated on the Veines peninsula, and about a 20 minutes walk from the Kongsfjord Guesthouse. Photos from our recent Kongsfjord visit.

Kongsfjord town is in the centre of this aerial, taken in early December 2011 on a flight between Båtsfjord and Berlevåg. This is a tree-less arctic landscape. The Veines peninsula is below Kongsfjord town in the left corner. 

Båtsfjord: the Skrovnes wind shelter 

Båtsfjord is a 45 minute drive from Kongsfjord. This project is not so much a bird hide, but more a project dedicated to the people in Båtsfjord. Skrovnes is a popular recreation area north of Båtsfjord. It is a 40 minute walk from Båtsfjord town. The idea of this project was to provide a wind shelter with great views of the fjord. This project was made possible thanks to the local municipality, Båtsfjord kommune, local bird guide aka Mr. King Eider Ørjan and a contribution from the Norwegian Environment Agency

At this weatherbeaten place, it will take less then a year before this hide will be grey as the rocks around it. 

Shelter & view

White-tailed Eagles are regularly seen in Båtsfjord. This photo was taken on boat trip in Båtsfjord with nature guide Ørjan Hansen.

Varanger is a work in progress, and we hope that the amazing nature of this region will be made accessible to more people, by providing better fascilities for people, and at the same time protecting the local wildlife. We believe that an appreciation of nature comes with making nature more easily accessible. Varanger is about to become a good example of how nature is promoted in a holistic approach, from school and kindergarden nature projects, to nature based tourism and to the building of hides and shelters.

Need a birder architect on a project? 
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