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Seawatching Hides
On this page I will present a collection of seawatching lookouts to illustrate the kinds of places people seawatch from. Any contributions are more than welcome!

Depending on the type of seawatching being done a shelter or hide of some sort kan make the difference between success and disaster. For many seawatching is about hard to see pelagic seabirds being forced inshore by strong winds - and in such sitiuations being able to sit out of the wind and rain is essential. There is nothing worse than a tripod shaking in the wind or rain beating onto your objective lenses.

The study of migrating waterbirds to and from breeding grounds in the north, so popular in Scandinavia, often occurs during periods of good weather and here a shelter can actually make things worse - ones visibility can be restricted and it is more difficult to hear birds coming.




Many localities offer a mixture of these aspects of seawatching and very many sites, at least in the UK have some kind of shelter. A few may be purpose built but the majority are in buildings built for something else - often ex-coastgaurd lookouts or gun emplacements from  the second world war.  Seawatching hides are finally on the increase in Norway with some in Finnmark as well as further south.

Seawatching hide on Utsira
The seawatching hide at Perleneset, Utsira, Norway. Photo: Bjørn Ove Høyland

Seawatching hide at Karmøy
Seawatching hide at Karmøy, Rogaland. Photo: Bjørn Ove Høyland






Skogsøy, Øygarden, Norway
There is at present no proper shelter at Skogsøy, although the terrain helps to protect observers whatever the wind direction. During the spring of 2006 a makeshift lean-to was used to keep off the worst of any precipitation.

Lean-to at Skogsøy


Annstead Point, Seahouses, Northumberland, UK
I am unsure of the origins of the seawatching hide at Annstead Point, Seahouses. It was possibly an old coastgaurd lookout, after the North Northumberland Bird Club took it over a full renovation was undertaken. There is no room to set up and use telescopes on tripods here - mostly we just rest  telescopes on the window sills - something that works very well.

Here there is seating for at least four people but one should be a member of the NNBC in order to obtain a key.

Annstead Point Seawatching hide

Church Point, Newbiggin-by-the-sea, Northumberland, UK
Only a very rudimentry shelter exists here, but the small brick structure can house one or two seawatchers crouched inside it.

Church Point Seawatching Lookout 








Whitburn, County Durham, UK
The purpose built hide here was built in 1990 and has withstood the tests of time and local vandals.
More information on birding in the area and latest news can be found here

Whitburn, County DurhamWhitburn Observatory - inside
Photos: Mark Newsome









The following book is highly recommended for anyone seaweatching in Europe:






View to the north at Skogsøy
View to the north at Skogsøy early on a calm May morning


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