Seaford’s cliff top kittiwake colony is thriving, say RSPB

Seaford kittiwakes
Seaford kittiwakes

A COLONY of rare kittiwakes is back at Splash Point in Seaford and breeding well, according to the RSPB.

The charity will stage its annual Date with Nature events, beginning on June 28, when it helps visitors to learn more about the birds.

However there are only four events this summer, whereas previously the scheme ran for several weeks.

But RSPB South East spokesperson Sam Stokes said: “The project has been running for the last ten years, and has been hugely successful with large numbers of both new and regular visitors.

“This year we are concentrating our activities around a few key dates during the breeding season when we know there will be fantastic viewing opportunities.

“On these dates we will be able to meet the maximum number of people and create a wonderful atmosphere and experience with which to show them these beautiful seabirds, explain the difficulties they, and many other species, are facing and how people can help them.”

The Seaford colony is one of the South East’s last remaining kittiwake colonies and has become increasingly significant in recent years as kittiwakes struggle to breed in strongholds along the coast of northern England, Scotland and Wales.

There are around 1,100 pairs of kittiwakes at Seaford.

Declines are thought to be connected with a lack of sand-eel fish, most likely linked to climate change.

The kittiwake is amber listed as species of conservation concern.

Date with Nature project officer Kate Whitton said: “Sussex’s kittiwake colony seems to be doing well, which is welcome news, especially as their numbers have been declining nationally over the past few years, and another local colony at Newhaven, which has been steadily decreasing over the last few years, has no nesting kittiwakes at all this year.”

Binoculars and telescopes will be provided. The RSPB’s staff and volunteers will be at the viewpoint on 28 June, 25 July, and 1 and 5 August from 10am – 4.30pm. Dates are weather dependant, so call ahead. Visit www.rspb.org.uk or call 01273 775333.