Re: Strange gull continued

Subject: Re: Strange gull continued
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 1996 19:46:29 EST10
I would imagine that Red-legged Kitts are much smaller and much darker than 
Silver Gulls and would probably have immediately died from heat exhaustion in 
Cairns!! They have BRIGHT red legs and juvs have no brown in the wings.
I don't think that there is anything in this description that excludes 1st 
winter Silver Gull. I have seen them with (admittedly not bright) yellow bills 
and dark red legs and I think I have photos.
Phil Hansbro

I am now back in civilisation (via Jo Wieneke's computer in Townsville) so can 
report more fully on my record of 3 July in Cairns.

I picked up a group of ultra-keen birders from Taiwan at the airport at 5.15am 
that morning, and dragged them from the airport car-park trying to see Brown 
Honeyeaters in the dark. We finally got them to breakfast at the Beach House 
Restaurant (at the Pier) at 8.00 am - and they instantly set up a forest of 
telescopes to look at ibises, spoonbills and pelicans through the picture 
windows of the restaurant. One of them called out - "come and look at this" - 
and I nearly choked on my Weeties! Gull in view sitting around 60m away, but 
viewed with first-class optics in good light. An excellent view as below:-

Gull with general size, shape and appearance of a sub-adult Silver Gull. Wings 
and body colour similar to adult SG, but with brown speckling on the wing 
coverts.Outer primaries unmarked black. Main feature was bright yellow bill 
(plain, no markings). Legs were dark red and eye dark. My partner Christine 
noted a darker line through the eye which extended backwards, and (possibly) a 
little forward of the eye. She also noted a different stance to the Siver 
Gull, but could not define the difference. The bird was gone next time we 

I phoned John Crowhurst, who has been keeping an eye out for the bird ever 
since, without luck.

Any ideas? Red-legged Kittiwake??

Replies can be sent to this address until Sunday 21 July.

Richard Jordan

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