Maybe a first for the UK?! Mew Gull at AVL!
Following information from Richard Lowe about an unusual gull at Albert Village Lake late last week, so with my day off from work I spent most of the day at this site.
The bird in question was a Common Gull-type which showed characteristics of Mew Gull (the American version of Common Gull).Arriving around 10.15am I met up with Steve Lister and Roger Davis who were already at the site and were slowly scanning the group of gulls.
So far there had seen two corking Adult Mediterranean Gulls in the group but not yet the strange gull!
Noting the Med Gulls in the flock, I tried to take a few shots of the Med Gulls but as usual just when I was focusing on the Gulls, there flew off towards the tip!
Over the period of the morning we were joined by a few birders which included Allen Pocock and Andy Forryan and Richard Lowe, who had found the interesting gull the previous Thursday.
The Med Gulls were seen again and a coloured ringed Common Gull was also noted on the island, but it wasn't until around 2.00pm when suddenly Andy Forryan noticed an unusual Common Gull which had just landed in the flock from the direction of the tip.
Over the next minute or so we all got onto the bird and noticed how different the bird was from the nearby Common Gulls.
Firstly it was much smaller in size and appeared to be about the same size as the Black-headed Gulls. The bill on the bird looked tiny and other features seen by the group included dark markings on the tertials and the tail. The eye was dark and looked large in comparison to its head shape.
So after watching the gull for a few minutes I started to take a number of shots of the bird which you can see above, then for the next 20 minutes myself,Allen and Richard tried to take enough video footage and photos to try and put a name to the bird.
The "Probable" Mew Gull then flew off around the lake and then back onto the tip.
With the group happy on what their had seen, we phoned out the news to let people know that a bird showing characteristics of the race Larus brachyrhynchus (Mew Gull) had been at this site for the last week!
Just to put in context about this sighting, the bird we watched was most likely a first for the UK and only the second recorded sighting in the Western Palearctic!!
To finish off if you are in the area I would suggest you visit this site and hopefully the bird will appear as I've got a feeling this gull will be the start to the ID of a whole new complex of Common Gull types?!