Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What Bonaparte’s?

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. 

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. 

Black-headed Gull

Bonaparte's Gull - Len Blumin / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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 .


Russell Jenkins said...

Some excellent pictures as usual. Like the perches too. I often take gull pictures in Japan but have no confidence in doing a post about them in case I'm mistaken which would be a likely case. Congrats on the careful identifications.

Noushka said...

Lovely pics, really, I love the Meadow pipit, not that easy to capture!
cheers, keep well!

Chris Rohrer said...

Fantastic group of birds. It always amazes me how people spot some of these birds......and of all birds, these gulls!:)

Linda said...

I absolutely love this series! Great captures!

eileeninmd said...

Great variety, Phil! Love the Bonaparte Gull shots. They remind me of the Laughing gull.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I don't know Phil, I think that I would have made that drive, but then again...maybe not. The Bonaparte's Gull looks to be quite a handsome one though! I really like the chocolate hood on the breeding adult Black-headed Gull, lovely chap! I hope that you have a great day~

Choy Wai Mun said...

Beautiful shots, Phil. I especially like the gull shots.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful gulls!

Ken Schneider said...

Those are strikingly beautiful and detailed portraits of the pipit and gull.

Wally Jones said...

Very interesting post again. I'm always amazed when a birder picks out a "different" bird from amongst a gang of shorebirds, plovers or gulls. Especially when they're not in breeding plumage. Keen eyes!

Hope your upcoming weekend will be a good one.

Stewart M said...

I have spent more than a few hours looking through out flocks of Silver Gulls and have never found anything but silver! I'll have to keep looking!

cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Rajesh said...

Very lovely birds.

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