In the last two weeks a handful of the more diminutive of the ‘white-winged gulls’, Iceland Gull, have started to appear in the evening roosts on inland waters in the Midlands. We went in search of one yesterday at Hoveringham sailing pit in Nottinghamshire, with our birding pals Bob and Sue. It was a beautiful clear, crisp late afternoon when we arrived and the gulls, mostly Black-headed and Common, had already begun to assemble in their hundreds. After an hour or so of scanning the growing number of ‘large gulls’ Bob announced that he had an Iceland in his scope. Sure enough there was a newly arrived juvenile/1st winter bird – quite pale with a hint of pink at the base of the bill, bathing and preening, towards the far side of the pit.
Seen in the centre of these two rather distant digipics – Iceland Gull, which incidentally breed in Greenland and Canada but not Iceland, like it’s larger cousin Glaucous Gull are easily identified by all white wings and, in young birds, an overall ‘latte’ colouration. They are most safely separated from Glaucous by size, structure and the patterning of pale and dark on the bill.
Another species on the long road to 300!