Kittiwakes in Focus…

Saturday 28th July comments: The Isle of May Kittiwakes. This demure cliff nesting ‘sea-gull’ is one of the most underrated and underappreciated seabirds which nests on the Isle of May. These medium-sized gentle looking birds spend the winter in the Atlantic, as far away as Greenland before returning in March to nest on the island.

Over 3,000 pairs nest on the dramatic cliffs of the May Isle (but more on the population in a forthcoming blog) and the first fledglings have started flying (youngsters look very distinctive with black beaks, black neck collar and black v across the upper wing).

However as with the majority of seabirds in the modern era, Kittiwakes find themselves in trouble as nationally the species is in decline as we’ve lost over 44% in just 15 years and that news is not improving. The impact of climate change, pollution (especially plastics) and a series of other factors are contributing to the decline of this wonderful bird. So the next time you visit, enjoy the true ‘seagull’ of the May as it really is one of a kind.

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