Dave observed that this gull had only one mirror in its wing tips. It was undeniable. My Collins Bird Guide says it has smaller mirrors than the other possible source of confusion, the herring gull, but this bird seemed determined to proclaim its difference. In addition its mantle was a darker shade of grey, but not so dark as to compete with lesser black-backs, and the legs were... well, they weren't pinky. Not obviously yellow either but we were certainly looking at a yellow-legged gull.
I've tried for rarities at Bittell in the past and failed to connect with any. I told Dave this on the drizzly trudge to the upper reservoir and he said, “Thanks. We're not aiming to see a yellow-legged gull, are we?”
“No, we're not. We're going for something else entirely.”
The gull perched obligingly on the buoy where previous birders had reported it and my duck was broken. That was one more to the Worcestershire bird list and another to follow immediately when we got on to the little egrets, also mentioned by those birders. These took me up to 141, just four behind my best English county, Hampshire, but still 37 adrift of Angus. They all pale against my 219 in Santa Clara, California but, hey, everything’s bigger in America.
In a brief respite from the rains, we had earlier dipped on the pom skua reported through Bartley reservoir. It was useful to find out where the place was, though, for future, wintery reference.