Thursday, 14 March 2019

Kittiwake hunt

Been looking for an inland storm blown Kittiwake in the recent gales. There's an interesting history of Kittiwakes in London with some major inland movements in late winter/early Spring. The first documented event occurred in 1959 on 4 March when 187 flew through the city with flocks over King George V and Leatherhead . In 1985 250 birds were seen including 150 on 28 April and 124 flew through Barnes on 25 March 1986.  1993 was the 'big year' when 1129 were recorded, almost all in one day on 25th January which included groups across London and a build up to 642 birds on Queen Mother Reservoir by dusk. The last big influx was 1999 with approx 1000 birds moving through the London area including some major passage over Beddington Farmlands with 120 on 7 February  and 370 on  17 February 1999. 

So spurred on by these past events and considering the recent north westerly gales I've spent quite a few hours in the past days looking for Kittys locally- a fruitless effort unfortunately. There have been a few inland across the country and at least one in London at QE2. 

So today I cheated and took the family to Eastbourne, where we visited the Pirates Treasure House with Jacob and then I managed to sneak in an hour on Eastbourne Pier where even there I could barely scrape in, with a single bird flying over the Victorian tea rooms. 

 Adult winter Kittiwake 
Not sure Jacob enjoyed the blustery conditions 

Birds of London by Andrew Self
The Birds of Beddington Farmlands by Peter Alfrey et al

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