Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

Initiatives to help raise awareness for the Kittiwakes along the River Tyne

Home Raising Awareness

Raising Awareness

Why are the Tyne Kittiwakes so important?”

A lengendary Tyne Kittiwake
  • The local population of Kittiwakes along the River Tyne is
    The Furthest Inland Breeding Colony of Kittiwakes in the World
  • Kittiwakes are ‘Red-Listed’. Red is the highest conservation priority with species needing urgent action. There is a great need to help safeguard existing birds and help secure and protect their nesting sites.
  • All species of Gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • At this time of climate change/food shortages, bird populations such as Kittiwakes are dropping enormously elsewhere. If climate change continues and coastal populations continue to fall, then the ‘Tyne Kittiwake’ inland breeding colony will become even more important to help maintain/sustain future populations. Conditions along the Tyne are more favourable than coastal populations, that are more vulnerable to bad weather. The Tyne Kittiwakes do still travel to the coast to feed, and at times as far as the Farne Islands.
  • This is an opportunity to witness a seabird colony up close. Usually you would need to travel to the coast, where they nest on sea cliffs or offshore islands. This opens up options for wildlife organisations/educational providers to encourage an interest in the natural world by showcasing the local colonies of Kittiwakes and the surrounding riverside habitats. This is particularly of high value at this time, when there is a HUGE audience focussed on the ‘Journey of the Tyne Kittiwakes’ and the ‘Progress of the breeding colonies along the River Tyne’.
  • The Tyne Kittiwakes are part of Tyneside’s local history/heritage, as Kittiwakes have been nesting along the River Tyne since the 1940s. For many of us, they have been part of our Spring/Summer months for our whole lives.

Can you help the Kittiwakes upon the Tyne?

Quotes and photos are very much welcome!  Please help us all to RAISE awareness for the Kittiwakes that return every year to build their nests along the River Tyne during the spring and summer months.

Visitors and residents can share their own thoughts with everyone regarding Tyneside’s Kittiwakes. The diary section follows  the progress of these wonderful friendly birds, that we are all so lucky to have with us during the summer months.
 

A Kittiwake on one of the
Tyne Bridge Towers
by Samuel Fisher

There is  a selection of Kittiwake galleries which showcase photos of the Tyne Kittiwakes and from the 2022 season, there will be a brand new e-newsletter, which will be published monthly during the spring/summer months. We will also keep everyone updated regarding any campaigns to help protect the local colonies of Kittiwakes as they happen. 

Learn more about the Tyne Kittiwakes

Local Wildlife film-maker Cain Scrimgeour produced a documentary about the Tyne Kittiwakes in 2013. This was made possible thanks to some funding from The Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club.  This short piece, features a number of key stakeholders that have been involved in the conservation of the local Kittiwake colonies.  The Story of the Kittiwakes by Cain Scrimgeour starts from the very beginning, as the Kittiwakes ventured from their coastal  cliffs at Tynemouth  into North Shields, and gradually made their way up to the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead.  

The Story of the Tyne Kittiwakes by Cain Scrimgeour

Baltic  Gallery – External Viewing Terrace

More than one-hundred pairs of Kittiwakes nest on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art on Gateshead Quayside.  Visitors to the Baltic Gallery can view the Kittiwakes from a specially created viewing platform for the public.

Tyne Kittiwakes nesting on the Baltic

Not only can you experience the Tyne Kittiwakes up close, but you can also enjoy  amazing views of Newcastle and Gateshead.  

A rare opporunity to watch breeding seagulls up close”.

Tyne Kittiwakes
Nesting on the Baltic Gallery
by Joe Thirwell

Level 4 External Viewing Terrace – Baltic Gallery

Durham Wildlife Trust and Baltic Gallery Kittiwake Cam

You can also watch the Kittiwakes from the comfort of your own home via a web cam. There is a Kittiwake Cam which streams live coverage between March and August, whilst the Kittiwakes are nesting along the River Tyne.

Enjoy getting a close up view of the birds as they reunite with their partner, build their nests, lay eggs and rear their chicks through the Kittiwake Camera attached to the
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art”.

Baltic – Tyne Kittiwake Cam

Mini Expeds – Wild Intrigue

Tyne Kittiwake – Walks and talks

  • June/July every year 

Inspire ● Educate ● Rewild

In collaboration with the Tyne Kittiwake Partnership, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, and Proven Doughnuts Co; Wild Intrigue offer mini expeditions to visit Tyneside’s Kittiwake Colony along the River Tyne.

“Kittee-wa-aaake, Kittee-wa-aaake”

Kittee-wa-aaake - Kittee-wa-aaake

An amazing opportunity to learn more about
the Tyne Kittiwakes”

This also feature an illustrated talk by local ornithologist Dan Turner who has been studying the local Kittiwake breeding population for 25 years and there are some tasty doughnuts from Proven Doughnut Co. Visitors are also able to get up close to the Kittiwakes by spending time on the viewing platform at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.  Wild Intrigue do amazing work with their partners in helping to raise awareness for the Tyne Kittiwakes.

Wild Intrigue hosted a short wildlife Safari along the North Shields Fish Quay during the summer of 2021. This was followed by a night celebrating our Geordie Kittiwakes with live music from Hector Gannet.

Kittiwakes and Doughnuts – By Wild Intrigue

New window stickers for local businesses

Help show your support and empathy for the Tyne Kittiwakes”

A design for some new window stickers for local businesses, to help show their support and empathy for the local Kittiwake population along the River Tyne is being drafted. These will be produced and distributed very soon.  ‘The Furthest Inland breeding colony of Kittiwakes in the World’. The legendary ‘Tyne Kittiwakes’.

Breeding Tyne Kittiwakes

The River Tyne nesting Kittiwakes have shown a remarkable story since their beginnings in 1949. Explore a new talk as local ornithologist, Dan Turner, shares some of their nesting sites along the Tyne and examines trends in their numbers and breeding success.

At times the Tyne Kittiwakes fly as far away as the
Farne Islands in Northumberland to feed”

During this talk it references a paper by Chris Redfern and Richard Bevan.
A comparison of foraging behaviour in the North Sea by Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla from an inland and a maritime colony. This can be found on Taylor and Francis Online

A Review 1994-2020 – by Daniel M Turner

 

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.’

More information is available on YouTube – Kitty the Toon

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 was published April 2020, with artwork by local artist Sarah Farooqi   To purchase both books by John Miles please visit ‘Chick Books – Reconnecting Children with Nature‘  Here you can also find many more fantastic books by John Miles – Reconnecting Children with Nature. 

 

Photography and Art Exhibitions

Be Inspired!

Options are being explored for any opportunities for ‘Wildlife Art and ‘Photography Exhibitions’ to help showcase local wildlife and their habitats. These will help to raise awareness for the local breeding colonies of Kittiwake along the River Tyne.  More details will appear on this page, as they become available.

A pair of Kittiwakes from the Farne Islands by Fiona Gomez

Kittiwakes by Fiona Gomez - Farne Islands

If you have any further ideas, of how we can help support and protect our well loved Tyne Kittiwakes, please let us know. Any help is always very much appreciated.

Educational Resources

“An education pack is
currently being written”

A new educational pack is currently being prepared and will be available soon.  This will be free for all and packed with online resources and activities.  For more information please contact contact@tynekittiwakes.org.uk

A Kittiwake Carnival

The Flight Dance of the Tyne Kittiwakes”.

As young Kittiwakes are fledging and trying out their brand new wings, the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead are filled with their familiar chorus “Kittee-wa-aaake, Kittee-wa-aaake”.

This is a great opportunity for us all to celebrate the next generation of Kittiwakes. With Black legged Kittiwake populations suffering big losses at this time, any new birds to help sustain future generations are very much welcomed and all our efforts are very much needed to help conserve this friendly sea bird.  Options are being explored regarding a potential annual carnival to celebrate the fledging of new Kittiwakes along the River Tyne.

More information will appear on this page as it becomes available. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Tyne Kittiwakes by Rev Atkinson - Gateshead

Kittiwake photos above by Revd David Atkinson

 

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