Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Showcasing the progress of the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne

Home Galleries – Tyne Kittiwakes

Tyne Kittiwake Photo Galleries

“Kittee-wa-aaake, Kittee-wa-aaake”

Here you can view a wide selection of galleries, which showcase a variety of locations, where the Tyne Kittiwakes have chosen themselves to build their nests, to help bring life to the next generation of Kittiwakes. 

These photos have been provided by volunteers from Kittiwakes upon the Tyne’ and local or visiting birdwatchers. All photos remain copyrighted to the contributors.  Should you wish to submit some photos yourself to be included in these galleries, please email   contact@tynekittiwakes.org.uk 

Quotes and short paragraphs for the ‘Kittiwake Diary‘ are also very much appreciated.  The diary follows the progress of the Kittiwakes as they first start to arrive from their winters travels far out to sea, to the end of the breeding season when birds start to fledge.  Please help us raise awareness for the ‘Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World’.  

Kittiwake Galleries from the River Tyne Colony 

Please click on an a gallery below to view the photos

Tyne Kittiwake Galleries

In 2019 a selection of pairs of Kittiwakes were shortlisted for the 'Best Nest of 2019'. Life is not easy as a Tyne Kittiwake. They travel all the way to the coast to feed, which is over ten miles from the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead. Many of the quayside buildings have also seen the fitting of anti-bird deterrents, which have at times proven to be harmful to the nesting population of birds.

One of the bridges that links the City of Newcastle upon Tyne and the town of Gateshead. Over 700 pairs of Kittiwakes nest on this iconic bridge. They can be seen nesting high up on the Bridges towers, and the green metal girders in between.

A favourite for the Tyne Kittiwakes every year. Here they are well looked after under the care of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. There is a viewing platform high up on the upper reaches of the building and Durham Wildlife Trust have also installed a Web cam where everyone can enjoy watching live feed from the comfort of their own home.

A historic building, owned by Newcastle City Council which sits close to the riverside adjacent to the quayside and main road. Over thirty one pairs nest on the Guildhall. Most of the Kittiwakes present can be found on the clocktower.

Two dozen pairs nested on Phoenix House during 2019. High up on the upper ledges of this vintage building, Kittiwakes can be found nesting on elegant arches and historic scenery.

Kittiwakes love to build their nests high up on narrow ledges. Some pairs have chosen a railway bridge to settle down during the spring/summer months. This can be found as you travel away from the quayside; deeper into the city. Over sixty pairs nested on this bridge in 2019.

In recent years some pairs of Kittiwakes have adopted some of the street lighting to nest on. These are more vulnerable to predators, however chicks have successfully fledged in recent years.

Built as an alternative, when the old Baltic Mill was converted in todays 'Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art'; the Kittiwake Tower continues to cater for over a hundred pairs. The tower sits on the banks of the river on the Gateshead side of the river.  

Over recent years the Kittiwakes themselves have chosen to spend time on the exchange buildings. When they return from their long winter far out at sea, they rest on the upper areas of this building. Between long flights along the river to the North Sea to feed, and as the next generation of Kittiwakes fledge, this building is fast becoming a favourite for them to rest on. Recently one pair nested on an upper ledge and fledged one young Kittiwake.

Up to a dozen pairs of Kittiwakes currently settle down on Lombard House. Here they build their nests close together often facing in different directions. These can easily be seen from the Tyne Bridge; but please be careful not to disturb them, as their eggs start hatch.

As the local breeding population of Kittiwakes expands or as existing pairs are displaced from some of their favourite buildings/structures due to the installation of new anti-bird deterrents; Kittiwakes choose new places to nest. In the 2019 season, one pair nested on the old church which currently houses the St Mary's Heritage Centre.

Kittiwakes can at times choose new buildings/structures to build their nests, to help bring life to the next generation of Kittiwakes. Some choose buildings, close to the roundabout before the Swing Bridge, whilst others explore buildings further into the city towards the railway bridge.

Kittiwakes are great flyers. One of the best places to watch them is from high up on the Tyne Bridge. Here not only can you listen to their addictive “kittee-wa-aaake, kittee-wa-aaake” calls, but you can also watch the 'flight dance of the Kittiwakes'.

Whilst the Kittiwakes are with us, groups can often been seen resting on the surface of the River. It is a busy life nesting on the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead for a seagull. Kittiwakes have to travel the marathan distances to feed along the North East Coast. Some Kittiwakes travel as far as the Farne Islands, many miles away.

As the River Tyne meets the North Sea between the coastal towns of North and South Shields, two enormous piers, mark the way. On the North Tyneside part of the mouth of the tyne, you can find a small coastal shore, surrounded by steep cliffs. This is popular with coastal waders, Cormorants and Eiders all year round.

Some years the local population of Kittiwakes opt to build their nests on the Shilling. Here there are anti-bird spikes and netting present.