Sunday 27 May 2012

Unbelievable - TWO Bonaparte's Gulls at Crossness

London listers had been waiting for an eternity for a Bonaparte's Gull, and so the bird I found last Saturday (19th May) was duly soaked up by all: -
1st-winter Bonaparte's Gull, 19th May - bird one. Note the isolated ear-covert spot, tertial patterning and obvious retained feathering on its median coverts
1st-winter Bonaparte's Gull, 19th May - bird one. Note the obviously greyish tinge to the nape, darkish edge to the secondaries and black tips to every retained tail feather
 And this bird then showed on the Sunday (20th May), the Monday (21st - the day I last saw it), the Tuesday (22nd - when it was well photographed by Andrew Moon and James Lowen here and here), with presumably this bird accounting for the Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th sightings.

With no sign on the Friday (25th), I told Josh that it was worth a shout Saturday as I imagined there wouldn't have been too much coverage and the bird had been mobile anyway - commuting between Crossness and the other side of Thames at Barking Bay. So this is what we found at the incinerator outfall yesterday (26th) morning: -
1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull, 26th May - bird two. Note the advanced hood, uniform pale edge to the secondaries (that contrasts more with the primary tips than bird one) and the newly moulted central tail feathers.

1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull, 26th May - bird two. Again, the hood is obvious while the retained feathers in the greater coverts and tertials are different to bird 1.
Having not seen the bird in the flesh since Monday (21st) and the last photos I'd seen were dated 22nd, I was pretty amazed how much the bird had moulted - as you'll see from what I said yesterday on my blog post.

Anyway, I got a call this afternoon from David Bradnum who suggested that there were actually two birds. Something I was not wholly surprised about, based on yesterday's bird, but for the London location this was almost pie in the sky stuff. He'd been told to look out for a bird acquiring a hood, as this is what I'd said to Jonathan L and Dom M yesterday. Anyway, David had seen a Bonaparte's Gull and it wasn't hooded, and looked unlike the bird Josh and I had seen yesterday morning. He'd just seen this, the original bird, at Barking Bay (more shots from today by Jake E can be found here): -
1st-winter Bonaparte's Gull, Barking Bay, 27th May - bird 1. (photo copyright David Bradnum)
And so, there you have it - Bonaparte's Gulls in London; they're like bloody London buses. You wait ages for one and two come at once. After all those trips to Ireland looking to find this species, I've now found two in the birding wasteland of London within a week. Shit really does happen!

Summary to date on the Bonaparte's Gulls at Cross Ness: -
Bird 1 present 19th to 27th May 2012
Bird 2 present on 26th May 2012

1 comment:

  1. An amazing double - well done Rich. I must one of many dozens, maybe hundreds, of London birders who owe you a pint for adding this bird to their capital lists!