birds at Kongsfjord and Kongsfjordmountain
The beautiful Kongsfjorden reveals itself when one descends from Kongsfjordfjellet. Down by the fjord lies the small and idyllic fishing harbour with the same name, and a little further out lies Veidnes. Here the promontory Veidneset sticks out into the fjord and separates Kongsfjorden from Risfjorden. From the mountain and down to the coast one can find high-alpine species and seabirds quite near each other. This stretch of road offers fine bird observations right by the road. The magnificent landscape and the rich bird life make this an exciting area for bird watchers.
Best time to visit
The coastline is fine the whole year, but best of all in the period May-July. In the mountains the best time is May until mid-July. The mountains are important breeding localities, as also are the islands in the fjord. Large numbers of birds gather in the fjords during migration.
Habitat and observation
species On the mountain Kongsfjordfjellet and down towards Kongsfjorden one can see most of the mountain species. It is worthwhile to wander around in the mountain, up onto one of the higher ridges near the road. There are then good possibilities of finding Dotterel, Rock Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting. Horned Lark and
Lapland Bunting are common here, and may be found by the road side. The same is true of Long-tailed Skua and Rough-legged Buzzard. Scaup and Long-tailed Duck can often be seen in the lake just after the turning to Berlevåg on Båtsfjordfjellet. Other species that one can see are Short-eared Owl, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit, Purple Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint and Red-necked Phalarope. There are several laybyes and places to park along this stretch of road, and it is worthwhile spending some time here. Red-throated Divers nest in the small lakes by the road! Displaying Rock and Willow Ptarmigan can also be observed from the car window. Then one should be out during the night in the first half of May. Long stretches of the road go by a river. Here there is much willow scrub where one can find Bluethroat and Arctic Redpoll. Otherwise there is only low vegetation both in the mountains and out by the coast. It is worthwhile to take a walk around the houses in Kongsfjorden and at Veidnes. From Veidnes one has a view over both arms of the fjord. Here there are often large numbers of Black Guillemots and Atlantic Puffins. During migration in May one can see dozens of Yellowbilled Divers and hundreds of Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers, Goosanders and Common Scoters. Out in the water at Veidneset stands the remains of an old jetty. This serves as an ideal nest site for Common and Arctic terns. These are species that are undergoing a dramatic decline along the whole Norwegian coast. Predation by mink and fox is a particularly serious problem in Finnmark. Here however they remain in peace, and one can photograph and study the two species together. There are also good possibilities of photographing Red-throated Divers, which often nest in the small lake between Kongsfjord and Veidnes. To walk out over Veidneset is a fine trip. Here one comes up onto a plateau with a fantastic view over the sea and the rugged and rocky coast. If one stays some time in this area, one has the chance of seeing hunting Merlins, Rough-legged Buzzards and Gyrfalcon. One almost always sees the White-tailed Eagle here. Twites nest in this area, and can usually be found in the fields along the coast and around the houses. The Ring Ouzel nests in the slopes down towards Kongsfjorden, and can be heard singing in May-June. Along the coast one can find some waders, and the Purple Sandpiper is common from the end of August until late May. Out in the fjord lie the small islands Helløya, Kongsøya, Skarholmen and Grønnøya. Here there nest many Kittiwakes, Shags, Cormorants and auks. Within Kongsfjord two headlands stick out, one from each side of the fjord. These form a narrow sound. Within the sound the fjord opens out again, and forms the inner basin of Kongsfjorden (Strømmen). Furthest in there is a large delta area with much willow scrub. In order to reach the innermost part if the fjord, one must walk some distance.
These places are very easy to find. At the road junction on Båtsfjordfjellet take the road no. 890 towards Berlevåg. Here one drives through fine bird localities the whole way. Down by the fjord the road goes through Kongsfjord, and immediately after one can take the road out to Veidnes. From here one can go along the old road up onto the ridge as far as the road goes, and then continue along a path all the way to the lighthouse. It is best to park the car by the houses. Innermost in Kongsfjorden there are two exciting areas, (1) Strømmen, which is the narrow sound where the tide flows in, and (2) Vesterbotn and Austerbotn innermost in the threshold fjord. In order to come to Strømmen the car can be driven in along the old road towards the sea when you come from the mountain and the fjord in Djupvik. Follow the road, cross the river and follow the terrain towards Strømmen. An alternative is to walk along a path on the north side of the lake Kobbkrokvann and follow this path by a series of small lakes to Strømmen. Access to Vesterbotn and Austerbotn has two routes. One is to go in from the road immediately west of Grønneset. The other possibility is to walk along a path just east of Vesterdalshaugen and on the south side of Stormyra. The path leads right out to the river mouth. New parking places have been made along road no. 890 where the car can be parked.
Egg collecting unfortunately is still a problem in Norway. Birds of prey are particularly threatened. If one finds the nest of a bird of prey, be very careful not to spread information about it.