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.