Kittiwake numbers are on the up in Seaford

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AN RSPB survey revealed an increase in Kittiwake numbers at Seaford, seeing a project open on Saturday to allow visitors to watch the sea birds up close.

Staff from the wildlife charity spent two hours last week scanning the cliffs for nests. They were pleased to find more than 1,000 nests, a significant increase from the 800 counted last year.

Kate Whitton, of RSPB South East, said: “It’s great to know we’ll be launching the project on such a good note.

“The Kittiwakes’ numbers sometimes fluctuate quite drastically, and it’s worrying when we see a sharp drop, because they aren’t doing well in the UK overall.

“They’re suffering from a lack of food, probably caused by climate change and over fishing.

“Although it’s relatively small, the colony at Seaford is becoming increasingly significant as Kittiwakes struggle to breed in other sites along the coast of northern England, Scotland and Wales.”

The wildlife charity’s Date with Nature project is based at Splash Point on the seafront every day from 10 am to 4.30 pm, between June 25 and August 7.

Staff and volunteers will be present to answer questions and help visitors to view the birds using binoculars and spotting-scopes. There is no entry charge and use of the equipment is free.

Kate Whitton continued: “There were already some fluffy chicks in the nests when we did the survey, and we expect there will be more by Saturday. This is a fantastic time to come and see the new arrivals, and learn about what parenting is like for sea birds.”

The RSPB is asking people to help protect Kittiwakes and other sea birds by calling on the government to safeguard our sea birds by signing a pledge at www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup/campaign.