26 March 2015

Hasselnes Wind Shelter - Watching Auroras in Varanger

Aurora-watching from the new Hasselnes bird hide and wind shelter. To left in the distance is Hornøya bird cliff.


Hornøya bird cliff is one of the key attractions in Varanger. We are currently working on a project aiming at improving the fascilities on Hornøya, and to connect Hornøya more with Vardø island. At Hasselnes, northeasternmost Vardø island, you have great views of Hornøya bird cliff. Hasselnes used to be the town dump. With the new bird hide and windshelter we aim to make Hasselnes an attractive place to visit. It is already a key place for birders and all visitors to Vardø, but fasilities and information have been absent. During our recent bird festival Gullfest 2015 we opened the Hasselnes wind shelter.
With its varied seatings and spaces it gives you shelter from the main wind directions. The views towards Hornøya bird cliff and the bird rich Reinøysundet is brilliant. And in the evenings it works brilliantly as a Northen Lights watching shelter.

A spectacular polar front over Vardø is nicely viewed from new shelter at Hasselnes, northeasternmost point on Vardø island.

Pro nature development in progress

The Hasselnes project was made possible with the kind contributions from Vardø Kommune. A big thanks goes out to Erik and his collegues at the municipality office who built the fundament. Miljødirektoratet  / the Norwegian Environment Agency supported the project with funding for all materials and carpentry. A very big thanks to them for believing in this project, and for contributing to the ongoing Hornøya project. This project is all about making nature easily accessible and more valued by both locals and visitors. Transforming an old dump into an attraction is a pretty cool thing to do in this respect. Together with Vardø Næringsforening (the local commerce organisation) we run the Hornøya project. Making the Hasselnes shelter is a good starting point for creating more local awareness of this world class attraction. Vardø-carpenter Ken Lorentzen have built the hide, together with Alonza from the Biotope office. Finnmark Entreprenør have contributed with both transportation and garage space for this prosject. A very big thanks to all involved! Vardø and Varanger just got a little bit better!

Bird hides and wind shelters are a key part of developing Varanger as the worlds finest arctic birding destination. The idea is to make easily available and inviting pieces of architecture at key sites in Varanger. We also aim to use local resources whenever necessary. The Hasselnes shelter is built with locally sourced Pasvik timber, delivered by Ben Arne from Pasvik.

From the building of the hide in Finnmark Entreprenørs garage in Vardø.  

Erik from Vardø kommune making the foundation for the hide. This is a part of a process of turing the old dump into an attraction. The concrete slabs are recycled material from an old building in town. 

The main part of the project was built in the garage, then taken to the site for finalizing. 

Carpenter Ken Lorentzen working on site.

Vardø - Hornøya - Varanger

Hornøya is perhaps the finest nature attraction in Varanger. The birdlife of Hornøya bird cliff have become famous among birders and nature photographers around the globe. In Vardø locals have a long tradition of gathering eggs on Reinøya and Hornøya, however this has not been practiced in recent years. Now locals are also increasingly becoming aware of Hornøya Island's unique position as a nature attraction. 

Vardø island seen from Hornøya bird cliff. Hasselnes is to the furthest right in the photo. The concrete pier on Hasselnes is actually the old sea dump. What was not burnt on land was dumped in the sea. Now Hasselnes is on its way to becoming a new attraction in Vardø town.

Hornøya bird cliff photographed from Hasselnes. This is home to 100 000 seabirds. 

Glaucous Gull flying past Hasselnes. Photographed during the recent bird festival Gullfest 2015.

King Eiders are gathering in huge numbers around Vardø island. This is part of a megaraft of 7500+ birds seen from the Hasselnes bird hide during Gullfest 2015 .

Bird artist Lars Jonsson was one of the first to use the new hide. 

The design is based on creating sheltered spaces, but with great views towards the rich birdlife around Hasselnes. Depending on wind and weather you can choose your place to sit. 

A long bench on the east side of the hide provides great views of Hornøya. 

A very big thanks to all involved in this project!
Varanger is becoming icreasingly better, and we hope you find the bird hides both sheltering and inviting. 

Follow us on twitter @BiotopeOffice or like us on the Biotope Facebook page to stay tuned with more pro nature projects fromVaranger and beyond.

Tormod A. / Biotope