Sunday, January 6, 2013

Too Much Time Admiring Bonaparte's Gulls

  I saw a few birds while commuting during the week but Saturday was the first day of January that I went out birding. I started my effort  to build a list at Hammonasset. It was cold and windy but I did manage to find a few interesting species. When I saw the gull in the photo I knew that it was different from ones I've seen before. I didn't have my field guide so I just snapped a few photos of it and then showed it to a nearby birder who knew his gulls (thanks Paul). It is a Bonaparte's Gull.
  I found out that they are not that uncommon during the winter but they were uncommon to me because I've never identified one before. I've probably seen them fly past me before and just couldn't identify them. They are a small elegant gull that remind me of a tern in the way they fly around and feed.The black ear mark on the side of the head really stands out. Shortly after I saw the first Bonaparte's Gull a second one showed up.
And then there were 3! I later read in a field guide that they don't usually hang out with the other larger gulls but these 3 gulls were swimming and flying around ring-billed and herring gulls the entire time I was there. I spent way too much time watching these gulls when I should have been working on adding to my list! I think that I ended Saturday with about 40 species and added a few more on Sunday. I'll do a separate post about Sunday's birding but for now you can view my current list by clicking on the link below.
Big January List 2013


Jen Sanford said...

Very nice photos! We usually see them move through in the fall here which is a nice treat. They're definitely on the cute end of the gull scale.

CabinGirl said...

Lovely photos of one of my favorite gulls!

Kathie Brown said...

Nice Bonapart's! It's always fun to add a new species to your Life List! Congrats Larry! What a sight to see!