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Herring Gull, Redditch

Herring Gull

Honestly, it’s newsworthy. Herring gull in Worcestershire is notable, even in the winter when they disperse from their coastal breeding sites. My Larousse describes it the most common of the larger gulls but around here that accolade belongs to lesser black-backed. So, it was all the more pleasing to log my first Redditch record on Walkwood School’s playing field, among the truly common black-headed gulls.

I wonder what else lurks in that field. I never have my binoculars with me, so the scavenging could hold common gull, Sabine’s – ha-ha, maybe a yellow-legged. Or would it be Caspian? After the old post’s fiasco of attaching the wrong picture, I’m not confident I could tell. The Caspian gull sits neatly between herring and yellow-legged and forms part of a continuum of 14 world species from glaucous-winged up to lesser black-backed.

The differences between them are mighty fine at the herring gull end. Some eight species here are supposed to run in a sort of circumpolar sequence: from our light-mantled herrings to the slightly darker Americans, through Asia and Eastern Europe and back to the darkest lessers. It’s a cline, but one that loops back on itself and thus maybe a ring species.

OK, that’s enough confusion sown. Job done.

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