Last weekend I returned to Newcastle quayside to see how the Kittiwakes were doing. I had left it longer than I’d meant to but it was a real pleasure to see the eggs all hatched and the young birds in various stages of development. Some of the young birds have even fledged, and like teenagers could be seen loafing around in small groups on the river Tyne.
A good number of other young Kittiwakes are yet to fledge and remain on or near their nests, clinging to the side of the Baltic art gallery. In the photos the young birds can be seen with their darker bills, as opposed to the yellow lemon bills they will develop as adults. The young birds can also be identified by the black patches or collars on the side of the head or neck.
So all in all, it looks like it has been a reasonably good breeding year for the Kittiwakes, as far as I can tell. We Tynesiders are very lucky to share our riverside with these lovely gentle-looking gulls, even if it’s just for a few short months of each year.