Ring-billed Gull at Stanwick Gravel Pits

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.

First-summer Ring-billed Gull, Stanwick GP, 22nd April 2013 (Steve Fisher)
First-summer Ring-billed Gull, Stanwick GP, 22nd April 2013 (Steve Fisher)

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

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