Sabine’s Gull – 1894

Xenia sabinii – A rare, occasional straggler from the far north; only three occurrences.

In Mr. Mathias’ list. One killed by a keeper of Lord Cawdor was seen by Mr. Mathias in Tracy’s shop, at Pembroke. This was a young bird in the first year’s plumage, and is now in the collection at Stackpole. In the first edition of his well-known work on “British Birds,” page 422, vol. iii., Mr. Yarrell states : “I have notes of one killed at Milford Haven, in the autumn of 1839.” Then, in the Zoologist for 1892, page 423, Mr. Charles Jefferys, of Tenby, relates the capture by himself of an immature Sabine’s Gull, on November 12th, that year, near the village of Amroth. “There was a strong wind blowing in shore and a heavy sea. It was late in the afternoon, almost dusk, and the bird was flying along the surf-line, as if looking for food. It was in good condition, and is now being preserved.” Mr. C. Jefferys has since informed us that this specimen is now in the Kelvin Grove Museum at Glasgow.

Sabine’s Gull is another very small species that is extremely rare in this kingdom in its pretty adult plumage in which it has a dark, lead-coloured cap and throat, the latter encircled by a black ring. It breeds beyond the Arctic circle, and its forked tail, and the angle at the symphysis of the under mandible, make it to be easily distinguished in all plumages from the Little Gull, with which we have known it to be occasionally confounded. After rough weather in the autumn this small Gull is not very rare along our south-western coasts.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Sabine’s Gull in Pembrokeshire