Up on the roof!

It’s that time of year again! The annual battle between Man and Gull, as Herring gulls nest on roofs and chimneys around the town! Let me start by saying that I love Herring gulls – it would be a dull world without them – but I totally understand why not everybody wants them nesting on…

Turnstone plumage

We are lucky to have a small population of Ruddy Turnstones, Arenaria interpres, in Scarborough. They spend most of the year here, except for the summer when they fly up to the Arctic to breed. Before they leave in May, they have usually moulted into their gorgeous breeding plumage (below). Their plumage gradually changes over…

Juvenile herring gulls following gannets

When I came across this melee of seabirds, just off the East Pier in Scarborough, I was a bit confused at first about what was going on! There were large numbers of juvenile Herring gulls taking off and landing in the water. What were they doing? After a while, I realised that there were a…

Gannets on granite: Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig rises up out of the Firth of Clyde, rounded and rugged, a gigantic lump of rock hard granite. I had the pleasure of sailing past this small island, 1 .2 km in diameter and home to over 35,000 pairs of northern gannets (Morus bassanus) last month, on a short, three-day cruise out of Liverpool. Ailsa…

That’s nothing! I grew up on a lamp post!

Older readers may remember the hilarious sketch by Monty Python where they play four Yorkshiremen trying to outdo each other in terms of how poor and deprived they were whilst growing up! If not, here are a couple of versions of the sketches: For some reason, I was reminded of this sketch whilst photographing this…

A tale of beauty: what peahens want!

Darwin’s other big idea (in addition to the theory of evolution by natural selection) was sexual selection. “We are, however, here concerned only with that kind of selection, which I have called sexual selection. This depends on the advantage which certain individuals have over other individuals of the same sex and species, in exclusive relation…

Sparrow-friendly hedges

We all need a place to call home. Somewhere where we feel safe and protected. Where we can chatter away in peace and security. Sparrows are no exception! House sparrows have declined markedly since the 1970s, although numbers have increased slightly in the past decade. There are a number of possible reasons (See Link 1),…

A day in the life of a Turnstone

So nice to get a bit of sunshine! Last night was freezing! I was just thinking, how long is it til we fly back to Greenland? Forget it! You are not even the right colour. Remember what we look like in our summer outfits? Oh yes, long time yet. I know. I just like to…

Kittiwakes learning to fly

We are coming to end of the Kittiwake nesting season here in Scarborough. There are still some chicks on the nests with their parents, but most have fledged and are learning the joys of flying! Kittiwake chicks spend about 41-42 days (average fledging period) sitting on their nests, being fed by their dutiful parents. They…