On the 20th March 20th 2021
Over 400 Kittiwakes have now returned to the Newcastle and Gateshead colonies. The Baltic is starting to look very full now, with almost all the birds returned there so far. Hundreds of Kittiwakes are starting to pair up, on the Tyne Bridge. A large portion of the colony has still not returned yet and their remains plenty of room for their feathered friends when they arrive. It is interesting to note, specific areas are filling up first.
Over half the birds have returned to the railway bridge on the Newcastle side of the river. No sign of activity on the old church in Gateshead yet.
New Anti-bird gel was added to Phoenix House by the owners in an attempt to deter the Kittiwakes from nesting. This replaced an area of anti-bird netting. This area is above an entrance to the building below. It is looking like Kittiwakes will nest again however still.
Not a Kittiwake. A Herring Gull sneaked in for a time to join the ‘Flight dance of the Kittiwakes’ . It was clearly so much larger, but unlike the Kittiwakes it only joined them for a few minutes, before enjoying the performance from a nearby roof. The Herring Gull has pink legs and a larger bill. Black legs and their smaller size, make Tyne Kittiwakes easier to distinguish from other gulls, that live with us along the quaysides of Newcastle & Gateshead.
The photo below shows five adults, resting from their afternoon performing in the ‘flight dance of the Kittiwakes’. There are two areas where you can view this, one is from the Newcastle side of the Tyne Bridge, facing the law courts side of Newcastle Quayside. Since the Kittiwakes started to return, we have noted less Black-h Gulls, and the return of more of the larger Lesser Black backed Gulls that also join us for the spring/summer.
So first they arrive, then they start to pair, up and then…. its time to build their nest… We will be keeping an eye on them throughout the week. Lots more Kittiwakes could also be seen on the Kittiwake Tower from the Newcastle side of the river. Many of the Kittiwakes do look so tired, and it is not surprising considering they have spent all winter and for many of the younger birds, many years far out at sea.