Saturday 19 May 2012

Bona fide bonaparte's gull at Creekmouth

I'm still wading through a mountain of photos from my Costa Rica trip but, in the meantime, I went today with David Campbell to his patch at Canons Farm and saw the handsome red-legged partridge that was still there.
Red-legged partridge
News came through of a bonaparte's gull at Crossness! A lifer for me and a London tick for David. We set off and it moved to the North bank while we on the way. A friend of David's saw it just before we arrived but we failed to locate it after a couple of hours. We started back and had got over the Dartford crossing and 6 or 7 miles south when news came through that it had returned.

We went back and saw a group of birdwatchers way along the bank at Creekmouth. I decided to run as I thought the bird was drifting down river away from us. I puffed up to see the bird through someone's scope and had about 10 seconds before it flew off!! David didn't run and missed it. However, after 25 or 30 mins it showed up again and we got good though distant views. The tide was right out so the birds were quite a long way from the bank. Light also not good as very overcast. The poor thing was constantly chased by black-headed gulls so it was on the wing most of the time. Here are a couple of photos showing the main ID features: black spot behind the eye, relatively clean underwing, black bill and pink legs.

Bonaparte's gull (in the middle)

Bonaparte's gull chased by black-headed gull

Went back on Sunday to try and get a better shot. I did get a little closer. Here three of the main ID features are shown better: spot behind the eye, black bill and pink legs.

Bonaparte's gull - with larger juvenile herring gull.

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