Tempted by the mouthwatering possibility of double figures of beautiful Iceland Gulls swirling around Nimmo's Pier, we spent a couple of days in Galway between Christmas and New Year. Even before we had arrived we knew that the birds had not arrived this year. Nevertheless, I spent a fantastic day and a half on the pier watching good numbers of gulls at close quarters. The rest of the family seemed very happy with the craic in Galway, so maybe we'll be back in a better year for northern gulls.
Highlight of the visit were cracking views of two different adult Ring-billed Gulls.
This individual has a less streaked head, a relatively narrow bill ring and a very narrow subterminal band on both primary 5s. It was seen on and off throughout the afternoon on 28th December loafing on the slipway. It fed on white bread though seemed to be unable to compete directly with Common Gulls. This bird has been present in the area for several weeks.
This bird visited the slipway for a brief period during the afternoon. It had a more heavily streaked head, a slightly broader bill ring, no black markings on primary 5 and one shorter feather visible in the tail. As far as I know this second bird had not been recorded in the area recently.
This is the first bird again back on the slipway at dusk.