I agree with Rob Hume's editorial comment on Roderick Thome's account of a presumed melanistic Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus in Orkney (Brit. Birds 89: 570) that such melanism is rare among gulls. In ten years of active gull-watching, I have seen just two individuals which I believe were melanistic: both winter-plumaged adult Black-headed Gulls at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxfordshire. One, on 2nd Mar

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