Ring-billed Gull, the Delaware River Gull, is a rare/scarce seasonal visitor to our shores from North America, especially sought after as it is now not as numerous as it once was. It used to be a regular visitor since the first accepted British record documented at Blackpill, Wales in 1973, becoming a species associated with several birding sites up and down Great Britain. Immediately the Hayle Estuary and Helston Boating Lake both in Cornwall spring to my mind where several birds would appear over the years. You may be familiar with other sites that have lured examples of this attractive Larid. Not to forget the sites that provided a winter home to regular returning individuals, some if not all were elevated to star status by being named.My first sighting came in the "Nineties" at one of the typical host sites over in Cornwall, Copperhouse Creek at the Hayle Estuary where a 2nd? summer bird showed really well in August 1990. Not too long to wait for the next over in Norfolk at UEA, Norwich caught up with the 2nd winter present on campus in the winter of 1991/92. It was elusive throughout its stay and at the time was thought to be only the second sighting of this species for Norfolk. Birders studying at UEA tried to get it on the seen from their campus flat window list. Following on from this one another Norfolk record and another 2nd winter example, this time present at Bure Park, Great Yarmouth the following winter. Next up for me in February 1994 a wintering adult at a playing field at Uxbridge on the edge of London, and soon after a pristine summer plumage adult gave itself up to birders in North Wales at Rhyl in April of that year, well worth a long wait and brief views at the boating lake. Fast forward to the end of the century where back at the Hayle Estuary an impatient adult waited for bread at Copperhouse Creek. On arriving at the car park it landed and stared into the car in anticipation of a slice or two. Thought it was going to knock on the windscreen for service.
|Isle of Dogs 2005|
|"Rossi" Westcliff-on-Sea 2005|
Why blog about Ring-billed Gull? Just follows on from a fairly recent trend on social media to celebrate current and past individuals and acknowledge the demise of this species in the British Isles. 30 January 2021 became Ring-billed Gull appreciation day. For more details on the rise and fall of this species this side of the Atlantic Ocean check out the Birdguides article by Josh Jones from April 2019, includes a lot better photos than above.