The Svalbard Islands play host to an ornithological reserve of notable natural beauty, the Bird Sanctuary. It covers an area of 140 hectares in the Norwegian archipelago. Situated towards the end of Kongsfjorden, the Bird Sanctuary spreads out over a dozen islands, including Mietheholmen, Prins Heinrichøya, Lovénøyane and Eskjeret, to name but a few, which are all characterised by grassy vegetation and small fresh water ponds, as well as a significant presence of flora. The landscape surrounding the fjord, with its steep mountains, cliffs, glaciers and tundra, is the ideal location for birdwatching.
A nature reserve which is one of a kind
The Svalbard Bird Sanctuary deserves to be seen by all of those who love the Norwegian fjords and want to explore their most beautiful and characteristic areas. Don’t forget to take suitable clothing with you for this adventure, like the Nobile N1 jacket by the Svalbard Islands brand, which is also perfect for strolls in town. The nature reserve is home to the Pink-Footed and Barnacle geese, Common eiders, King eiders, Purple sandpipers, Grey phalaropes, Long-tailed ducks, Long-tailed jaegers, Glaucous gulls and Snow buntings. Glimpses can also be caught of Ivory gulls. These are all joined by magnificent mammals: Arctic foxes, Beluga whales, Bowhead whales, Polar bears, Walruses, Ringed seals and Bearded seals.
The Sanctuary reserve and the Ramsar Convention
The special area of the Bird Sanctuary, situated near to one of the most enchanting Norwegian fjords in the Svalbard Islands, is one of the wetland areas protected on an international level by the Ramsar Convention, approved on 2 February 1971 and currently undersigned by 159 countries. As well as being the habitat for particular flora and fauna, the wetlands make an important contribution to the environment and the global ecosystem, as they help to mitigate climate changes. An area such as that of the Svalbard Islands Sanctuary, a true paradise for bird enthusiasts and experts, is not only visually beautiful, but it is also very important for the well-being of nature and humankind.
The Long-tailed duck, the queen of the Bird Sanctuary
During a visit to the Bird Sanctuary on the Svalbard Islands, it is possible to catch a glimpse of truly rare species of bird. One example is the Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis, according to the 1758 Linnaeus classification), a mid-sized marine duck. It is the only living example of its genus, the Clangula. Fossils have even been found dating back to the Middle Miocene period (Upper Badenian, 13-12 million years ago) in Mátraszõlõs, Hungary. These are important finds which confirm its ancient origins. The male has a long, pointed tail and a dark beak which grows lighter towards the tip. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail.