I always thought that the Black-headed Gull should be an easy addition to my patch list.
I was pretty sure that I saw them all the time on my travels around the patch and further afield and the Orkney Bird Report lists the species as a common breeding species, passage migrant and winter visitor.
A couple of weeks ago I was looking through my patch list for this year to see how I was doing and I was surprised to see that the Black-headed Gull was missing from my list. I guessed that I must have seen it and just forgotten to tick it off so I checked back through my note book and found that I hadn't made a note of one at all for this year either on or off my patch.
So now I was on a mission. It should be a straight forward look round the patch starting with a few obvious places and get it on the list. The more I looked the more blanks I was coming up with. I paid more attention on my commute to work and at first I wasn't seeing any further afield either!!
Then finally last week I started seeing a few appear with increasing numbers over the next few days. Still none on the patch though. Yesterday lunchtime on my way into town I spotted a solitary one sat on the shingle at Echna Bay and have now added it to my patch list for the year at species number 56.
Checking back in my notes for last year I found out that I didn't actually see this species on the patch until mid May, when it was species number 50. So I'll be taking a closer note of this species in future to see what their movements are over the year.