During late afternoon on Monday 22nd April, Steve Fisher was birding at his local patch, Stanwick Gravel Pits, when, at about five o’clock, he discovered a second calendar year (first-summer) Ring-billed Gull in the north-east corner of the main lake. Accompanying Lesser Black-backed and Common Gulls it was on the water and in the shallows only briefly, some distance from the hide. Steve managed a few distant record shots just before it got up and flew east.
The images give a little of what was seen well in the field when compared with Common Gull, i.e. the fuller head with flatter crown, less placid appearance contributed to in part by the heavier, light pink bill with sharply demarcated dark tip (recalling first-winter Glaucous Gull) and paler grey mantle than Common Gull.
This is only the 12th record of Ring-billed Gull for Northants and, interestingly enough, Steve found the first – an adult – way back in 1984 at nearby Ditchford GP. The previous records are:
1984 29th March, adult, Ditchford GP 1991 28th November, first-winter, Stanford Res 1993 30th October & 4th November, first-winter, Boddington Res 1994 12th November, first-winter, Daventry CP 1998 24th February-2nd March, adult, Welford Tip 2000 13th January-3rd February, adult, Welford Tip 2000 8th March, second-winter, Daventry CP 2001 31st January, adult, Daventry CP 2001 9th-16th February, adult, Naseby Res/Welford Tip 2008 27th February & 7th-9th March, adult, Boddington Res 2011 9th March, adult, Boddington Res