Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Few birds are more frequently misidentified than this species, due to failure to understand its plumages and those of the Herring Gull, and few species are harder to identify positively."

Ludlow Griscom on the Ring-billed Gull in Birds of the New York City Region, published in 1923. Griscom goes on to note the Ring-bill's smaller size in direct comparison with Herring Gull, as well as the difference in leg color between the two species. "No other color character is reliable," he states.

Griscom knew of no northern NJ records later in spring than the Ring-bill found by Charles Urner on 1 May 1922 at Elizabethport, Union County. He also knew of no other reliable north Jersey records apart from Urner's observations from Elizabeth. Although things (including optics and gull ranges) have changed since Griscom's day, more than one World Series of Birding team has come to grief searching for the elusive May Ring-billed Gull.