Halsnøy Monastery is situated in the midst of the lush fjord country in Sunnhordland, on one of the old spits, or “necks”, that has given name to the island. Gently sloping fields lead down to the sea on both sides, in the south towards the Kloster Fjord, to the north towards the sheltered Klostervågen.
It isn't true that hungry students have hunted down basking ducks in the city park Byparken in their spring fervour, as rumours may have it. But, it is not unusual to see students throw themselves over the park's wild birds, and hold on to them tight. They ring the birds. Because of this, we know quite a lot about the birds in Byparken.
Fjøsanger is known among ice age researchers from around the world. Under an excavation in 1975-77, geologists from the University of Bergen found layers from the last interglacial, ca. 115 000 to 130 000 years old.
When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
Spring, summer and autumn, there is bird life on Valen, and the tidal zone is especially attractive. Out on Herdlaflaket, you see ducks and other diving birds all year round, but most in winter.