Life on a ledge

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…

Silly seabird season! Herring gull chicks.

It’s what I call silly seabird season here in Scarborough. The time of year when seabird chicks fall off the roof! I am talking about Herring gulls of course. A Kittiwake would never fall off; they are just too clever for that! The advice from the RSPB is that if the chick is uninjured, leave…

Insect cuticle

We mammals are quite fortunate in having bones! They reside inside us, and our skeleton grows as we grow. Insects on the other hand, have an external skeleton, or exoskeleton, and must shed it periodically, as they enlarge in size. The insect cuticle is secreted by a single layer of epidermal cells that covers the entire…

Seagulls in lockdown

I like seagulls! But I know that Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are not universally loved. They are a bit like marmite; love them or hate them! Like us, their world suddenly changed on the 23 March 2020, and they had to adjust to a new way of living. In this blog, I discuss media reports…

Iridescent feathers of pigeons

Rock doves, or common pigeons (Columba livia), like those shown here have iridescent green and purple feathers around their necks. Both males and females show these iridescent colours, although females tend to have less iridescence than males. Iridescence means that the colours change according to the angle of view (or angle of illumination). So as the…