Life on a ledge

Kittiwake chick on 5 July 2020

I have been following Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) at a number of sites around Scarborough this summer, but one particular location offers very good views, provided you take care not to disturb the birds too much. With a long lens, you don’t have to get too close, although the birds seem to be used to people taking pictures with their mobile phone cameras. They have chosen to nest in a place which is at eye level and have nested here for a number of years; I think they are fairly immune (or acclimated) to humans. They nest on window sills of the Grand Hotel: let’s call these Nests (or Pairs) 1, 2 and 3, from left to right (below).

Three nests above McBean steps on 17 May 2020

There are more desirable – at least to my eyes – nesting sites on the hotel, but they are all occupied!

Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) on the Grand Hotel 5 July 20

In mid April, the pair on Nest 1 were clearly in a romantic mood (below).

Pair 1 on 15 Apr 2020

One month later, they were incubating eggs (below).

Nest 1 on 17 May 2020

A great deal of nest building had gone on prior to this, during early May.

Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) 14 May gathering nest material on 14 May 2020. Scarborough

By 24 June, they had a little chick which was already exercising its wings (below).

Nest 1 on 24 June 2020

There were two chicks on Nest 2, and one on Nest 3 (below).

Nest 3 on 24 June 2020

One of the chicks on Nest 2 was clearly visible when I went back on 28 June (below)

Nest 2 on 28 June 2020

The chicks are now starting to grow much larger, and the parents are probably feeling exhausted, flying back and forth – out to sea – to catch fish for their hungry offspring.

Nest 1 on 5 July 2020

It is easy to get very close shots, using a long lens (150-600mm) without disturbing them too much (I hope).

Nest 1 on 5 July 2020 close-up

One of the adults on Nest 3 was tucked up and asleep today (5 July 2020), a cold and windy day.

Adult sleeping on Nest 3 on 5 July 2020

The pair of chicks on Nest 2 were looking very lively, and the wings are developing fast!

Nest 2 on 5 July 2020

We are, I think, blessed to have these beautiful birds living amongst us, even if they do make a bit of a mess!

Grand hotel, Scarborough

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s