Birdwatching Hut Opens in North Iceland

birdwatching hut skagaströnd

A new birdwatching hut in North Iceland’s Skagaströnd region is not for those afraid of heights. It is securely fastened to the edge of a cliff in the Spákonufellshöfði nature reserve, providing a unique and sheltered vantage point to observe the area’s plentiful birdlife.

The crystal of a prophetess

The hut was designed by the firm ESJA Architecture and built with the help of grant funding from the Icelandic Tourist Board. According to ESJA, the hut’s crystal-like shape was inspired by a legend from the Viking Age. Spákonufellshöfði, the name of the site, means “Prophetess Cape,” presumably referencing the area’s first resident who is known by name, Þórdís the Prophetess. Þórdís lived in Skagaströnd in the late 10th century and is referenced throughout the Icelandic Sagas.

Nesting bird species plentiful

Naturalist Einar Ólafur Þorleifsson told RÚV he expects the hut to attract both locals and foreign tourists. The location of the hut is not only ideal for birdwatching but also for observing the area’s volcanic rock formations and interesting plant life.

The bird species that nest within the hut’s sightlines include fulmars, ravens, ptarmigans, arctic terns, eider ducks, and black guillemots. Harlequin ducks are visible in the sea year-round and long-tailed ducks are also a common sight. Cormorants, falcons, merlins, and even eagles can also be spotted there, according to Einar. At this time of year, as migratory birds return to Iceland to nest, flocks of geese pass by the site as well as swans.

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