I couldn't keep away - had to go see that gull and try for some photographs in nicer weather than the cloudy drizzle we had on Friday.  Excellent job relocating the gull by the master intuitive birder Doug!

As I started down the stubble field at Access #15 around 9:45 a.m., I met Doug Willis who was leaving.  Closer to the water I ran into a number of happy birders, all seemingly afflicted with the contagious "perma-grin" that is going around on this side of the state.

The Mew Gull was seen by all, but had flown around a bit and was thought to be now out with a small group of Ring-billed Gulls that were sitting on logs a good distance from the shore.  I walked around to the right to get a better view and took over Jonathan Pons' spot as he was leaving.

I photographed what looked to me like our gull.  Although a big lens, what I'm seeing through my camera is no comparison to a 60X objective on a spotting scope.  When I reviewed my photos, instead of seeing some new Mew Gull shots, I now have some lovely Ring-billed Gull comparison photos!

That Mew Gull is one tricky bird!  Although I have spent many hours with my previous photos, I got fooled by a Ring-billed at a distance.  I have posted some comparison shots on my website to hopefully help make the identification easier for anyone else.  

Things to look for with the Mew Gull:
Dusky brown underwings
Smaller bill
These are the most obvious differences:  the tail is more solidly brown than a Ring-billed and the undertail coverts are heavily barred as compared to the clean white of the Ring-billed.  See photo 16 on Mew Gull page 2.  The tail coverts are fairly easy to see in flight.

The comparison shots are on the page "Ring-billed Gull" on the menu at the top.

As far as gulls go, I am just a beginning birder - gull experts feel free to comment and provide guidance!  Thanks.

Linda Williams
Liberty, Clay County, MO
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