Visiting Gull A ‘Rarity’ For Scilly

birdwatchers 2A bird described as a ‘major rarity’ for Scilly has been seen on St Mary’s for the past four days.

Although ring-billed gulls are spotted on the mainland, they are found infrequently here.

St Mary’s Ornithologist Will Wagstaff says it’s the first one seen here for a few years and it has created some interest for local birdwatchers.

Nobody is sure why the bird is so unusual in Scilly but more common in Cornwall.

Will says most of the migrating American gulls seem to pass straight over the islands, probably because we don’t have the sheltered bays and estuaries that they prefer.

Although it hasn’t been the best season for birdwatching, there have been some notable birds within the last few weeks.

One special sighting was a whiskered tern, spotted by Will in September and last seen here in 1851 when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

There were also reports of a red-necked phalarope, recorded here on fewer than twenty occasions.