Bonaparte’s Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)

Bonapartes Gull (Chroicocephalus philadelphia)The Bonaparte’s Gull is the american equivalent of the Black-headed Gull. The shape of the dark hood and the white leading edge to the primaries are both strongly reminiscent of Black-headed Gull but the hood is actually sooty-black rather than brown, the legs are ‘bubble-gum’ pink and the underwing is much whiter, especially under the primaries. To spot a Bonaparte’s Gull in your local gull roost, look through the Black-headeds for a bird which is smaller, more delicate-looking, with a smaller, finer, all-black bill.

Myself and Bob Grove travelled down to Crinan on Sunday afternoon to try and find this gull which had first been reported at Crinan on Wednesday 1st August 2012.  Unfortunately we arrived just before high tide and the bird had flown west.

Fortunately our second attempt today was more successful, and after a search in all the likely places, finally found the gull in the bay near Duntrune Castle.  All the identification features were ticked off and we confidently added it to our Argyll lists.  To make the trip even more rewarding we were also provided with excellent views of  a female Hen Harrier (ring-tail) and an Osprey all within the hour and in the same area.

Location : Loch Crinan (SE)  Grid Ref :-NR 8094

Date and Time :- Monday 7th August 2012, 10:00 hours

Richard Wesley & Bob Grove

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Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager