Most of my birdy outings are spent with just my Bushnell’s for company. As optical aids, they are fine, but they don’t fill the void that a birding companion, or mentor might. They don’t join in with the jolly banter that lubricates a day and they offer no advice or opinions on a tricky identification problem. Therefore I have had to make my own aide-memoires for choosing between similar species.

KEN 22Jun15 Lesser Black-backed Gull 01 - Copy

When a black-backed gull needs identifying, my first question to myself is “what colour is the undercarriage?” This is not always easy to see when the bird is in flight, but if the bird is grounded and you can see anything yellow beneath, you have a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Once you’ve got that nailed, it becomes ridiculously easy.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.