Saturday, 18 August 2012

Bonaparte's Gull Returns...

Thursday evening and a bit of a mad dash to Whitburn to see the Bonaparte's Gull, its not back for its third year. Great views were had on Thursday evening and I went back today for some more and some Gulling, the local farmer has been ploughing in his field and so the chance to study some gulls was high, of course the hope was I would get to watch the Bonaparte's Gull feeding in the ploughed field but it was not to be. Mark rang at around 4ish to say he has just located it on Whitburn Steel; where it has been most of the day remains a mystery. Yesterday it took a liking to the ploughed field but today no sign at all in some 5 hours; I can assure you it felt longer waiting in the hope it would drop in.

The dates and state of moult is fairly interesting.

In 2010 it was first noted on the 28th of August, it had moulted all its head feathers and was in full winter plumage, however there was active moult in the primaries so presumably this bird has been in the general area a little before the 28th of August. During its stay until it was last noted on the 11th of September it had obtained all its primaries and was in winter plumage.

In 2011 it was first noted on the 5th of August, it was mainly in summer plumage but in active moult with its head feather moulting and active moult in the primaries. By the end of its stay it had yet again undergone its moult, got all its winter primaries through and again it was last noted on the 11th of September.

In 2012 it was first noted on the 16th of August, it was in mainly full summer plumage and in active moult yet again; this time its head was a bit more 'full on' summer plumage but again it was in active primary moult. Who reckons it'll last be seen on the 11th of September then?

Fascinating bird, Mark Newsome managed these shots of the bird yesterday and today, seemingly its moulted one of its primaries since yesterday.

(Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

 (Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

Still with P10, P9, P8, P7. But inner primaries dropped.
(Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

Now some from today:

Undergone some moult on head since yesterday, note the now white area on the forehead compared to the above shot. Though not changed all that much.
 (Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

 (Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

Clearly visible here, bird has not dropped P7 whereas it had it yesterday. Its out there somewhere! £5 to the finder, so long as I can have one of the feathers! Start looking at the Steel and work your way from their.
(Bonaparte's Gull - copyright Mark Newsome)

Great bird! Hope it comes back next year, though have a feeling I'll be seeing it before then.

Until next time, Foghorn out!

1 comment:

  1. Stunning bird and fantastic photos by Mark Newsome!

    Do love the smaller Gulls.