|Adult Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes. Note the black hood and bill, dark red gape and pinkish-red legs.|
A change from large gulls: small gulls! I headed down to Kent today to catch up with the returning adult Bonaparte's Gull at Oare Marshes. This individual is now present for its fourth summer at the site; according to BirdGuides.com it was first seen there as a first-summer on 22 May 2013 (and previously nearby at Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey). In subsequent years it has usually appeared in June or July and departed late August.
|In this partial wing stretch, the Bonaparte's reveals the white undersides to its black-tipped outermost primaries, a key distinction from Black-headed Gull (which has dark grey bordering the white leading edge of its underwing).|
Today it was present quite close to the road, so I took welcome advantage of the fact - all these images are taken with a Canon 500mm f4 lens, 1.4x EFIII extender and 7D MkII body, and manually exposed to take account of the difficult backlit lighting conditions. (Tip: if you are visiting Oare Marshes on a sunny day, whether for photography or just birding, afternoons and evenings are always best, with the light illuminating the East Flood from behind you).