Continuing the theme of new birth I visited Mumbles Pier on Gower yesterday afternoon to see how the colony of Kittiwakes was getting on. I am very pleased to report that all seems to be well with at least twenty nests currently being occupied. The difference to my last visit was very impressive as almost every ledge is now covered in a couple of inches thick of nesting material and poo. I can’t imagine that this mixture does any good to the underlying structure of the pier which is I presume why it appears that the remains of the nests are removed after each season.

22003 - Kittiwake on Mumbles Pier, Gower

I was very pleased to see that one of the nests closest to the area accessible by a visitor had two small chicks in it. One of the chicks was noticeably more mobile than the other, spending much of its time stretching, flapping its wings and generally making a nuisance of itself to its mother. Eventually it settled long enough so that I could actually see its head and get a picture.

21980 - Kittiwake on Mumbles Pier, Gower

The other nests all still seem to contain eggs, so it looks like the chicks above are just early hatchings. We were treated to several close views of the eggs as one bird after another stood up to turn their legacies.

21985 - Kittiwake on Mumbles Pier, Gower
21993 - Kittiwake on Mumbles Pier, Gower
21987 - Kittiwake on Mumbles Pier, Gower

I think that in another week or so many more of the eggs will have hatched and we will start to witness feeding behaviour and some more adventurous chicks. I hope to be there to witness it as there can’t be many other such easily accessible Kittiwake colonies in the country.


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