Monday, 7 August 2017

Thank you to all of the people who came out on our whale and dolphin watch yesterday. Although the marine mammals were rather scarce, there were excellent views of a beautiful leucistic/ albino kittiwake on the cliffs just below the watch. In the picture you can see the all-white bird with pink feet, next to both adult kittiwakes, and juvenile birds ready to fledge (with the black collar around the back of their necks). Unfortunately just as we were packing up at the end of the watch, a comotion was spotted out to sea, which turned out to be a great skua which had caught the white kittiwake and was drowning it. Sadly although the kittiwake put up a good fight in the end the skua won, and began to eat it. This is sad, but perhaps not unexpected. Even to the human eye the kittiwake was very noticeable, and so probably made an obvious target for the bonxie. Also leucistic birds can have weakened feathers, which could have affected the birds flight, and if it was an albino it may have had poor eyesight. Sadly this was probably a case of natural selection in action. To learn more, check out this website from the British Trust for Ornithology, where you can also report any birds with unusual plumage you see in your garden :     Lizy

White kittiwake on cliffs with other kittiwakes

Great skua next to the corpse of the white kittiwake it has just drowned

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