Ring-billed Gull Larus delawrensis
Little Marlow Gravel Pit - 16th July - 6th August 2004
Photos copyright Michael McKee
Photo copyright Nick Hallem
Discovered mid-afternoon on 16th July by Chris Heard, this 2nd summer bird stayed on the sand spit for about three hours before flying off alone NE, allowing several local birders to catch up with it. Fortunately it returned mid afternoon the following day, enabling birders from further afield to see it.
The following notes were
provided by Lee Evans :-
Apart from its intermediate size (noticeably smaller than the European Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls but obviously bigger than the Black-headeds), the stout greenish-yellow bill with the striking black bill-band was a great give-away. The head was completely white and quite rounded and the mantle, back and upperwings pale grey, very similar in tone to the Herring Gulls. The eye was predominantly dark but in certain lights some paleness in the iris could be made out. The legs and feet were a dull yellow or yellowish-green. In flight, it could be seen to be in quite heavy wing moult, but had typically dark chocolate-brown/black outer primaries and some retained dark primary coverts. The upper tail was marked with a few retained blackish spots.
It is considered that this is the same bird that Chris Heard had seen at Queen Mother Reservoir (Berkshire) in April 2004.
Little Marlow Gravel Pit - 1st-5th April 2003
Above pictures copyright Mike Collard
Above - Ring-bill is on the left side
Above Picture courtesy of Jim Rose
First seen on 1st April, this adult bird returned late afternoon on 2nd, 3rd and 5th and was seen by many birders. The bird flew in with 100-200 Common Gulls which were roosting at the site and hence the bird was not seen prior to 6:00pm. This selection of photos hopefully picks out the main identification features. The features noted by birders at the time were; the heavy bill with obvious black band; pale eye with dark orbital ring; slightly paler mantle when compared to Common Gull; slightly larger than Common Gull; yellowish legs which were slightly longer than Common Gull.
There are only six previously accepted records for this species in the county although there is a pending record for 2002 of a 2nd winter bird in April at Little Marlow GP and it is thought that it may be the adult bird shown here returning. For details of other Ring-billed Gull records click here.
Little Marlow Gravel Pit - 25th September 1994
This second winter bird bird was discovered on 25th September 1994 just a few minutes before the video was made. It was recorded intermittently until 25th November. It was the 4th county record.
Video still kindly supplied by Dave Ferguson