Kittiwakes upon the Tyne

The Furthest Inland Breeding Colonies of Kittiwakes in the World

Home Tyne Kittiwake Colonies St Marys Heritage Centre

St Mary’s Heritage Centre – Gateshead

Tyne Kittiwakes find refuge on an old church.”

Since 2019, a small group of Kittiwakes have used an old church on the Gateshead side of the river to build their nests.  In present times the church is used as the  » St Mary’s Heritage Centre  .  The current residents of this handsome church welcome their breeding Kittiwakes and value the time they spend on their Heritage Centre during the spring and summer months.  

Kittiwakes were unsuccessful with their first breeding attempt, however returned in 2020 and 2021 and successfully raised young chicks. As the 2022 season breeding season dawned, four pairs were nesting.  Smaller colonies are often more vulnerable to predators such as larger Gulls; however nesting pairs are often joined by more Kittiwakes preening and using the church to recharge and relax.  Lesser Black-backed Gulls however have also been spending time on the church. 

Four pairs returned for the 2023 season, with three pairs
successfully raising four chicks between them”. 

This very small colony can be best viewed from the Tyne Bridge.  There are a selection of outdoor seats available adjacent to the Heritage Centre itself, with some providing great views of the River Tyne habitat. These can be a great place to relax, and enjoy the outdoors.  Visitors can also visit the inside of the Heritage Centre and benefit from the service they provide.