Birdwatching at Ilene and Presterødkilen

In Tønsberg, the birds have found themselves a little oasis in the middle of the industrial and commercial areas by the bays of Ilene and Presterødkilen. Consequently, this is also an oasis for birderwatchers and walkers. Interesting things can be seen all year round, but these places are most exciting during migration periods and in the summer. In the winter, however, you can find Bearded Reedling, Common Kingfisher, and Water Rail. So this place is definitely worth several trips during the year.


Map over Ilene and Presterødkilen

1Bird tower at Ilene
3Bird tower in the innermost part of Presterødkilen
4Bird hide / Photo hide by Presterødkilen
5Viewpoint platform suitable for wheelchair users
6Bird tower in the outermost part of Presterødkilen

Two Reserves in One
Ilene nature reserve and Presterødkilen nature reserve are located close to each other and was in 1985 merged into “Ilene og Presterødkilen Våtmarkssystem” (Ilene and Presterødkilen Wetlands). Ilene is located west of Tønsberg centre and Presterødkilen east of the centre. Both reserves are easy to access and have bird towers. The paths within the reserves are great and easy to follow. These areas are typical wetlands with large numbers of geese, ducks, and waders. However, many birds of prey and other birds are also seen here. In addition, you may also listen to many different nocturnal birds in the early summer.

Helpful Information

Biotope:Wetlands with a lot of reeds and rushes.
Best time to visit:Whole year, but most activity from April through October.
Bird towers:Point 1—Bird tower at Ilene
Point 3—Bird tower in the innermost part of Presterødkilen
Point 4—Bird hide by Presterødkilen
Point 5—Viewpoint platform suitable for wheelchair users
Point 6—Bird tower in the outermost part of Presterødkilen
Local association:NOF Vestfold offers many activities in Besøkssenter våtmark Ilene (Visitor Centre Wetlands Ilene).
Shoes:Training shoes or hiking boots.
Food:Not necessary.
Clothes:Casual clothes or hiking wear.

Besøkssenter Våtmark Ilene (Visitor Centre Wetlands Ilene)
Ilene has a dedicated Visitor Centre which promotes activity related and educational work towards schools and nursery schools. A visit to the visitor centre is recommended in connection with a family hiking trip in these reserves. Read more about Visitor Centre Wetlands Ilene on (in Norwegian).




Birdingbed cooperates with long-time experienced guides in customizing personalized birdwatching experiences like…

  • excursions to see owls, woodpeckers, birds of prey and more.
  • Black Grouse lek, Capercaillie lek, bird cliffs, among other things
  • photography trips.
  • finding specific species.

For guided excursions in this area, contact Anders Faugstad Mæland through the web page Birdwatching Norway

Did you know …

… that Ilene and Presterødkilen cover one of the few areas in Norway with great chances of seeing Bearded Reedling, Common Kingfisher, and Water Rail?

… that Ilene and Presterødkilen are very suitable places for experiencing nocturnal birds?

… that Norway’s first record of Lesser Yellowlegs was around Ilene, and the first record of Citrine Wagtail was around Presterødkilen?

Bird Species Seen at Ilene

Bird Species Seen at Presterødkilen

Some of the Birds at Ilene and Presterødkilen

Key Map
Helpful Links
(also in english)