Photos and report from Rachel Green
Identification by Peter Ryan
A young Kelp Gull was sighted on a beach west of Calshot Harbour on Monday 25th August. Kelp Gulls are one of the more common vagrant birds from South America that set out over the ocean and may be seen feeding around the Tristan da Cunha Islands on their huge journey eastwards.
Kelp Gulls breed widely in the Southern Hemisphere, around the coasts of South America, Southern Africa and Australasia as well as the South Atlantic Isands including the Falklands and South Georgia and the Southern Indian Ocean Prince Edward – Heard Island achipelago, but not on the Tristan da Cunha Islands.
The species is also referred to as the Southern Black-backed Gull and is identified by the common latin name Larus domininanus as it is also known as the Dominican Gull.
Juvenile Kelp Gulls, like the example seen at Tristan in August 2020, have very distinctive and attractive markings that contrast with the yellow bill, white head and black and white tail feathers of breeding adults.
The Kelp Gull will be featured in a forthcoming second issue of stamps from the Tristan Post Office on vagrant species.