Resisting the slight temptation to drive the 20 miles to Heysham for sight of the Bonaparte’s Gull I instead spent a solitary hour or two this morning looking through waders and gulls at Conder.
Patience paid off when both Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper showed again. They would appear to be the same birds seen last Thursday and which have been playing hide-and-seek with birders ever since. 10 Common Sandpiper this morning, plus 4 new-in Dunlin (3 adults and 1 juvenile), 3 Snipe, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 40+ Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 2 Curlew and 12 Oysterctacher. Fifty Swift, 3 Sand Martin, 10 Swallow and 15 House Martin hawking around and above the hawthorn hedgerows.
Others- 1 Raven, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck, 1 Teal, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Tree Sparrow, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit.
Below are pictures of Bonaparte’s Gull and Black-headed Gull. Black-headed Gulls actually have a chocolate brown hood during the breeding season.
Bonaparte's Gull Chroicocephalus Philadelphia is named after a nephew of Napoleon, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a leading ornithologist in the 1800's in America and Europe. The scientific name philadelphia was given in 1815 by the describer of the species, George Ord of Philadelphia, presumably because he collected his specimen there.
Bonaparte’s are rare vagrants to Western Europe, where they usually associate with the somewhat larger Black-headed Gulls, just as the Heysham bird is doing. How long it has been hanging out with Black-headed Gulls is anyone’s guess but full marks to the birder who found and identified it amongst the black-heads.
Bonaparte's Gulls breeds across subarctic North America from western Alaska to the Hudson Bay and spend winters along the Atlantic coast from Virginia, along the Gulf Coast inland to southern Missouri, and south into northern Mexico, and along the Pacific coast from Washington south to central Mexico. Their preferred habitats include large lakes, rivers, and marshlands. It is the smallest gull seen over most of North America and it is also the only gull that regularly nests in trees.
They have a black hood and a short thin dark bill. The body is mainly white with pale grey back and upper wings. The underwing is pale and the wing tips are dark. They have pink legs. In winter the head is white.
Aother Bird Blog is linking today with Stewart's Photo Gallery .