Friday, 10 August 2012
Juvenile Ring-billed Gulls
One of the benefits of travel for a birder is that even the most common birds seem twice as interesting as those back home. If they happen to be gulls then even more-so for me. Consequently I have several times more images than I probably need of these two juvenile Ring-billed Gulls photographed on 13 July at Marconi beach on Cape Cod. These were the only two juvs that I saw; the species does not breed in the area so these two had dispersed from a breeding colony further north or west.
Of the two, you will notice that the one above is more strongly marked all over, with lots of dark smudgy marks on the tail and body. The other bird (below) more closely resembles a young Common Gull and could easily slip by without being noticed this side of the Atlantic. The wing on the Ring-bill is broader, particularly at the secondaries, there are some heavier anchor-like markings on the tips of the greater coverts, the bill shape is a little heavier with a more pronounced gonys, and the mantle seems a bit more coarsely patterned but all-in-all quite a subtle identification.