Yesterday, in the last hour of daylight, Martin Elliott found a promising candidate for a second-winter American Herring Gull on the Watersports Pit at Ditchford GP, immediately west of Ditchford Lane. Fittingly, this was during one of Martin’s gull ageing and ID courses he is running throughout the winter, based out of Stanwick Lakes visitor centre a couple of miles east along the Nene Valley!
The bird was present again on the Watersports Pit, where I saw it albeit briefly, at 11.45 this morning before it flew off in the direction of Viaduct Pit, immediately to the west. It’s a distinctive and interesting-looking bird. Obviously dark compared to Herring Gulls of the same age, dark lower breast/belly, noticeably dark upperparts and black primaries, blackish tail with heavily barred uppertail coverts, bi-coloured bill, small grey ‘triangle’ of feathers on mantle and strikingly dark underwing. Martin’s notes say it all in detail and I would like to thank him for sharing them here.
Good quality photographs and/or video would be useful in helping to provide a fully detailed analysis and hopefully the bird will stick around long enough to allow this to be made possible.