And I’m going to make no apology for featuring them once again on this blog as I think they are absolutely fantastic. To be able to get so close and observe their natural behaviour throughout the breeding season is a very rare thing indeed. It has been about three weeks since my last visit and the chicks are now well advanced with many able to fly. This doesn’t mean that their parents are having an easier time of it as the chicks also seem to have found their vocal chords and are getting plenty of practice in while they can.
I am happy to report that the original pair of chicks from my first visit have both survived as can be seen below.
One of them at least can also fly, which left his friend looking rather lost.
In all gull colonies the relationships between neighboring birds always seem to be on a knife edge and the birds on Mumbles pier are no different. Every time an adult bird landed a chorus of shrieks went up. Interestingly there was also a bit of bullying going on among a set of three siblings. The middle bird was regularly pecking in a vicious manner at the neck of the front bird who exhibited little to no reaction. I presume this was an attempt to assert dominance to get first dibs on any food but I would have thought that they had moved past this sort of behaviour by now.
Many of the chicks were still begging for food from their parents who seemed much more reluctant to provide than on previous occasions. I imagine that we must be getting very close to the period where they have to fend for themselves so that is understandable. I did manage to catch one incidence of feeding absolutely perfectly. Zoom in on the picture below if you want to see a Kittiwake regurgitating food in far too much detail.
I had great difficulty choosing pictures for this entry as I have so many that I would love to share. For your sanity (and mine – uploading is not the best on my internet connection) I shall leave you with just a couple more of my favourites. I hope you like them.