Dave Ingram wrote a helpful post the other day, describing the adult Ring-billed Gull. "... easy to identify", he says. And when I was looking over some photos I took on White Rock beach, I thought I had one. Easy!
See? A ring around the bill!
Not so fast! I have to check out the other characteristics first. Here's Dave's list:
1. Black ring: check. 2. Medium-sized bill: check. 3. Yellow legs: no. They're pinkish. 4. Pale yellow eye: no. Dark, with a hint of yellow. 5. Black wingtips with 6. two white spots: check, I think. I don't have a flight photo.
- a black ring around a medium sized bill
- yellow legs
- pale-yellow eye
- black wingtips with two small white spots on the leading edge of the wing (in flight)
Pinkish legs, black wingtips.
4 out of 6 isn't bad, but that's not an adult ring-bill. Maybe a juvenile? I looked them up on the Cornell "All About Birds" site. It divides the juveniles into Juvenal, First winter, First summer, and Second winter. The first three have pinkish legs and dark eyes. Good. But the bill is yellow. Not so good; my gull has a definitely white bill. And the wings are supposed to be brown; these are definitely grey.
I give up. For now. But at least I may remember the characteristics for next time.