Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Helping to protect and raise awareness for the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne,
including the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

A Tyne Kittiwake in flight

An Independent Voice

    • Celebrating the unique status of the Tyne Kittiwakes;
      ‘The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony in the World’
    • Supporting efforts to help safeguard the local breeding population of Kittiwakes and their environment.
    • Helping to showcase local educational projects that feature  local wildlife and their habitats.
    • Encouraging bio-diversity along the River Tyne, helping to protect wildlife and their habitats.

The City of Newcastle upon Tyne and the adjacent town of Gateshead boasts a rich wildlife haven along the river tyne. This is popular with birds all year round.  Watch out for Cormorants  swimming in the river or enjoying some shore leave on the rocks nearby drying out their wings.  Look for waders such as Redshanks and Curlews feeding on the tidal mud banks.  Accept the challenge of identifying which species of Gulls are present and try not to miss the migrant birds that have travelled from far away countries to share the bounties of the big river.

Tyne Kittiwakes on the Baltic by Joe Thirlwell

 

Kittiwakes nesting 
on the Baltic Centre
for Contemporary Art 
Gateshead
by Joe Thirlwell. 

Kittiwakes

The cast of Gulls includes; Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and the largest of all often some Great Black-backed Gulls.  In the spring/summer months two more species can be seen daily. These are the Lesser Black-backed Gull and the Kittiwake.  Kittiwakes are very much coastal Gulls, and to find one inland, is very rare.  They spend their lives out at sea.  Pairs regularly breed along our coast on steep cliff edges. The Farne Islands in North Northumberland hosts substantial colonies of nesting sea birds and is well worth a visit if you ever have the opportunity.
A young Tyne Kittiwake - River Tyne - Newcastle - Gateshead

“The Furthest Inland Breeding
Colony of Kittiwakes in the World”

Where the River Tyne passes the quaysides between Newcastle and Gateshead you can find ‘The Worlds Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World‘. They are a soft gentle Gull with friendly personalities and they wear the black and white colours of the local Geordie football team ‘Newcastle United‘.  Why they chose this urban location no body knows, but they have fallen in love with a big city and they enjoy amazing panoramic views.

The Kittiwakes return every spring/summer

The ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ return every year to build their nests at sites they have specially chosen themselves. They raise new chicks for the next generation of Kittiwakes. Lots of residents and visitors love to hear their “kittee-wa-aaake, kittee-wa-aaake” calls.  Help us celebrate this amazing ‘annual event’ ; a valuable opportunity to watch this coastal Gull up close.  It is a privilege that we all need to make the most of. So please come share our good fortune and help welcome the legendary ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’ when they return again.

Tyne Kittiwakes

Far out at sea on fish they feed
in spring return to shore and breed
the urge so strong to find a mate
to build a nest and procreate
so when they feel the annual pull
we’re visited by this pretty Gull.
Its head is white and body too
black edged grey wings another clue
a yellow bill and legs of black
nests on cliffs or coastal stack
except a colony we all know
that lives with the quayside far below
upon the bridge their homes they make
the world-famous River Tyne Kittiwake.

 


by Billy B

 

Kitty the Toon by John Miles - Artwork by Barry Robson

The Worlds First Inland Colony

Text by John Miles
Artwork by Barry Robson

Amazingly illustrated, ‘Kitty the Toon’, tells the story of Kitty the Kittiwake. Newcastle hosts the furthest inland colony of Kittiwakes. This story follows a pair as they nest in the city, have babies, enjoy a game of football and head back out to sea. A great edition to any wildlife library.’

Return of Kitty the Toon by John Miles - Artwork by Sarah Farooqi

 

Return of Kitty the Toon

Text by John Miles
Artwork by Sarah Farooqi

Return of Kitty the Toon will be published this April, with artwork by local artist Sarah Farooqi   See the book at the Baltic on 11th April 2020.  To view more books by John Miles please visit ‘Chick Books – Reconnecting Children with Nature

 

 

Latest News

An e-newsletter will be available soon. Watch out for how to register to receive your free copy.

New for Summer 2020

Walks and talks
Mini Expeds – Wild Intrigue

“An amazing opportunity to learn more about the
Legendary Tyne Kittiwakes“

Find out More

Spring 2020

As the Kittiwakes return for another year, updates will start to appear on the
 ‘Diary Page

“Kittiwakes are back on the Tyne, at long last.”

– Johnathan Drury, 5th March 2020.

Something intensely moving today about the first few Kittiwakes grabbing nest sites under the Tyne Bridge and the hopefulness of those cries on a crisp cold day. #theyearturning”

– Julie Sanders, 7th March 2020.

January 2020

Last Season – 2019

The Tyne Kittiwakes returned to build their nests for the 2019 breeding season.  

“Who was the ‘Winner’ of the best
Tyne Kittiwake nest for 2019?”

Spring/Summer 2019
    • Summary reports are now available on the ‘Colonies Page.’  
      This features an interactive map. 
      –  updated December 2019
    • Despite the introduction of new anti-bird deterrents Kittiwakes were still able to still build their nests on quayside buildings.
      Summary Report 2019
      – updated February 2020

A Greener Solution is Needed

At this time of climate change, this important red-listed species, needs our help. For decades the Tyne Kittiwakes have been moved on and the Newcastle Quayside is becoming fortified against birds with more and more spikes, anti-bird netting and electric shock systems.

“Can we help the Tyne Kittiwakes to nest?”

What can we do?


Wye Eye Wheel Approved

  • “Will this new development disturb the established wildlife along the riverside?”
    What do you think?
    – updated December 2019

Anti-bird deterrents

Some buildings along Newcastle Quayside have spikes, netting and avi-shock installed.  These are deterrents to prevent Kittiwakes landing and nesting on buildings and structures.

Spring/Summer 2020

“Have you found an injured or trapped Kittiwake along the Tyne?”

Request help!

Winter 2019/20
  • More anti-bird netting to be added
    More information will appear here very soon.
Spring/Summer 2019
Summer 2018
  • Birds become trapped in anti-bird deterrents that have been added to buildings to discourage Kittiwakes from nesting.     Read More

Guidance on Anti-bird Deterrents

The safe and informed use of deterrents to prevent Kittiwakes landing and nesting on buildings and structures in Newcastle City.

 

Can you help?

“All quotes and photos are very welcome”

Kittiwakes on the Tyne Bridge by Mark Leitch

Any quotes or photos would be very much appreciated for the Kittiwake Diary  or the new Photo Galleries section.  They both help to raise awareness for the local breeding population of Kittiwakes.  All quotes/photos are credited to authors.
Read More

Kittee-wa-aaake,
Kittee-wa-aaake

 

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