Monday 12 February 2018

We're all going on a gull hunt

Yesterday Dante found a Ring-billed Gull on the Thames, a pukka adult. The guy is a fiend, seriously good at gulls at such a tender age. Brave too... My Wanstead list would greatly appreciate a Ring-billed Gull, and as such I now have something to do with my mornings before work. 

Yes, you read that right. Before work. It has been getting lighter now for over a month, and the days of being able to sneak a quick bash of the patch are once again upon us. At the start of the year the sun didn't rise until 8.06am, and on overcast days it felt a lot later than that. Now however it is nearly an hour earlier, at 7.20am, and on clear days like today it feels earlier. We're gaining nearly four minutes a day at the moment - every week there is an extra half hour.

I was out early this morning and it was bright and crisp. And carpeted with Common Gulls. You can see where I am going with this. Back in the day there was a Ring-billed Gull regularly at the south end of the Isle of Dogs. I used to nip down there when lunch was still a thing and see it on the mud off Island Gardens. It was my dream however to find it on Wanstead Flats, hiding out amongst the many hundreds of Common Gulls. I never did, though I had a few stringy near misses. I am a better birder now though, and not quite as scared of Gulls as I once was, so I would give myself more of a chance these days. So I had a good old pick through the loafers this morning, and whilst my Yank Gull count is still zero for the patch, it was a good exercise, and also a good excuse to get back birding again.

Here's a photo of the search image. There is more streaking on the head, and the legs and feet are a brighter yellow. Not quite as much white sand on Wanstead Flats as in Florida, but it should still stand out.


  1. "It was my find it on Wanstead Flats..."

    Did I really just read those larophilic words in a Wanstead Birder blog post??? Has this secret, hidden urge been bubbling away for some years? And is it a sign of progress, or grim resignation?

    Whatever the case, I like it!

    1. This was many years ago you understand. Common sense has since prevailed and I mostly ignore Gulls.

      There is something about Ring-billed Gulls though, they just look like they have a bit of a mean streak. Also you can actually safely ID them here as there is really only one confusion species, unlike the minefield that is Herring vs YLG vs Casp vs LBB. Yes that's it, they're a 'safe' Gull.