Twitchers in a flap over rare visitor

John Nadin photographed the Ring-billed Gull on Strathclyde Loch.
John Nadin photographed the Ring-billed Gull on Strathclyde Loch.

Bird watchers have been flocking to Strathclyde Park to catch sight of a rare visitor to our shores.

The Ring-billed Gull is the most common member of its species in the United States, and is now starting to travel across the Atlantic.

An adult Ring-billed Gull was spotted at Strathclyde Park and it is believed the same bird has returned this year.

It is one of only two who are known to have set up home in the Scotland, with the other found in Dingwall.

John Nadin travelled from Dunfermline to photograph it for himself.

He said: “While I was at Strathclyde Park last week I met at least five other bird watchers who were there to see and photograph the returning North American gull, so it is becoming a popular bird with local and visiting bird watchers alike.

“It is still a rare bird in the British Isles, currently there are two Ring-billed Gulls in Scotland, the other is in Dingwall and it has returned to the same site for several years now.

“Another notable Ring-billed Gull returned to Stromness in Orkney for over 20 years.

“The first Ring-billed Gull ever to be seen/identified in the UK was at Blackpill Beach in Glamorgan, Wales, in 1973, with the first recorded in Scotland on the Ythan Estuary three years later.

“It has increased a great deal in the UK since these early records mainly due to increases in the North American breeding population, also there are more birdwatchers, with better optics and better field guides, as well as local, national and Internet-based information services that report unusual birds.”