Seaweed flies

The equinoctial gales washed up lots of nice kelp onto the beaches of Scarborough this year (below). The piles of seaweed were gradually pushed up the beach by the incoming tides, eventually accumulating beyond the strand-line, where it slowly decays and eventually dries out. This gift from the sea is a wonderful bounty which is…

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…

Just a bunch of weeds? Birds and bees on the slopes of the Futurist site, Scarborough

This site was created following the demolition of the old Futurist theatre on Scarborough seafront.  Demolition of the building began in June 2018 and was completed in August 2018. A process called ‘slope stabilisation’ created an area of sloping ground (below) which, in this year of lockdown, has filled up with wild flowers. Some might…

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…

Nest building kittiwakes

Over the last few weeks, kittiwakes – or Black-legged Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) to give them their full name – have been very busy building their nests here in Scarborough, north Yorkshire. There has been a constant stream of kittiwakes flying to and fro between their nests and the harbour at low tide. They come to collect…

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…

Knot bad for bees!

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a fast growing, invasive perennial with a terrible reputation for spreading and excluding other native plants. Its roots are also capable of breaking through concrete and other man-made materials (1). But it’s not all bad! It looks quite nice when it is flower, right now in September, and it’s good…

Such good parents!

Kittiwakes are such good parents! They each spend roughly the same amount of time on the nest looking after the chick(s), whilst the other goes in search of food. During the day, each bird is away from the nest for about 2 hours and 48 minutes (on average) apparently, searching for food to bring back…