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.
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.