Bonaparte's Gull at the Gann, (c) Brian Southern

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2018

Chroicocephalus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

One at the Gann, 4th and 5th November

As Mr Astins thought it may be possible to see the Swift from the main land. I went to St Anne’s he went to Martins Haven. On my way back having had very horrible views of Skokholm in the poor visibility, I thought I would scan the gulls on the Gann. Picked out a Bonaparte’s gull in with the gulls opposite Crab Hall. As always wanted, confirmation from someone, so met up with DA at Martins Haven, where I showed him photos and video. He Confirmed it. Posted by Peter Howe at 5:40 pm

Then about 4.20pm I picked the bird up in a small roost forming maybe 150m offshore.  Too far for any decent photographs, but my poor efforts show some of the key features – smaller size, darker, dark bill & grey shawl along the neck sides.  I was also able to see the pale under primaries whilst it preened, and when the whole flock flew further out to sea the more buoyant flight with faster wingbeats were quite obvious.  This is only Pembrokeshire’s 4th Bonaparte’s, after birds at Solva in Spring 1888, and Strumble Head on 28th September 1997 and 16th-20th October 2012.  Be nice if it stays around. Posted by Dave A at 6:13 pm

The adult Bonaparte’s Gull still present at The Gann estuary this morning. On the shoreline feeding with Black-headed Gulls –  very mobile. (James Roden 5/11/2018)

Excerpts from the Pembrokeshire Bird Blog

Welsh Bird Report 2018 – 2nd CY+

More about the Bonaparte’s Gull in Pembrokeshire

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2012

Larus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

16th October 2012.  Wind – west force 6.  Cloud 5/10

I have been going down to Strumble for about 30 years and first met Graham Rees there.  I am sure it was his enthusiasm and knowledge that sparked my interest in seawatching.  I have tried to get down there from the dark wastes of Ceredigion at least once every autumn and have seen some very good birds over the years.  I think Strumble is great when you are a beginner as there are so many usual birds to see, that over time, you can learn to spot a different one when it turns up, as one did on the 16th October 2012.

I started the seawatch from Strumble Head at 7.40 am.  My routine is to scan the area starting WNW with the telescope, working my way round to NE.  I always follow this pattern as most of the birds are travelling in a southerly direction and hopefully, I would come across them as they pass.

At about 10 am there were a few Manx Shearwaters and Common Scoters flying past, a single Brent Goose and three Arctic Skuas.   I was slowly going through feeding flocks of Kittiwakes at about 1 mile distant and there among them was a smaller gull going up and down to the surface of the sea.  It was similar to the Kittiwakes, but it had a lighter flight and the leading edges of the wings were white.  Not many gulls have white leading edges.  So I thought, “What was it?” 

It wasn’t a Black-headed Gull as it was too small for that, and it also had pale underwings.  The flight was reminiscent of Little Gull, which I had seen the day before.  But this gull was a bit bigger than that. 

I called out to Adrian Rogers and Clive Hurford to get onto this bird, which they did and we discussed about it being a Bonaparte’s Gull.

I had been watching the gull for about 25 minutes and I estimated the size compared to the Kittiwakes with it.  It looked about 3 inches shorter in length, and the wingspan 3 – 4 inches narrower.  It was seen in bright sunlight and shade.  The description was sent off for verification a few days later.

Unfortunately for me, a Bonaparte’s Gull was seen from Strumble Head three days later and much closer than I had seen.  But by then, I was back at home. 

Red Liford

************************* 

19 October 2012

On arriving at Strumble it was evident there were many gulls, the majority Black- headed feeding in a very close tide race no more than 200m offshore. “You never know “, I thought to myself. Within approx. 5 minutes I picked up the adult Bonaparte’s Gull in the flock , had good views of the clean white underwing and even its pale pink legs on a couple of occasions as it dip fed. News out, D J Astins and P K Grennard made it up to Strumble picking up the bird on the sea on the far side of Mackerel Rock with reasonable views of its black beak, head pattern and upperparts colour obtained.

20 October 2012

Paul Grennard noted that the Bonaparte’s Gull was still showing in feeding flocks.

Adrian Rogers

More about the Bonaparte’s Gull in Pembrokeshire

Bonaparte's Gull at the Gann, (c) Brian Southern

Bonaparte’s Gull – 1997

Larus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

The Bonaparte’s Gull breeds in W Alaska and across Canada, wintering along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. A few are recorded annually in the UK.   

The first Bonaparte’s Gull recorded in Pembrokeshire was shot at Solva in the spring of 1888 and taken into the bird collection of H.W.Evans. Although some of this collection went to the Tenby Museum the Bonaparte’s Gull was not included and consequently it has not been possible to establish whether it was an adult or not.

The second record was of a first winter bird seen in flat calm conditions at Strumble Head on the 28th September 1997, dip feeding across the whirlpools of the inner tide race in the company of a Common Gull and a Black-headed Gull.                

Graham Rees. Pembrokeshire County Bird Recorder 1981-2007

More about the Bonaparte’s Gull in Pembrokeshire

Bonaparte's Gull at the Gann, (c) Brian Southern

Bonaparte’s Gull

Chroicocephalus philadelphiaGwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2018

Chroicocephalus philadelphia – Gwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant One at the Gann, 4th and 5th November As Mr Astins thought it may be possible to see the Swift from the main land. I went to St Anne’s he went to Martins Haven. On my way back having had very horrible views of Skokholm in the poor […]

Bonaparte’s Gull – 2012

Larus philadelphia – Gwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant 16th October 2012.  Wind – west force 6.  Cloud 5/10 I have been going down to Strumble for about 30 years and first met Graham Rees there.  I am sure it was his enthusiasm and knowledge that sparked my interest in seawatching.  I have tried to get down […]

Bonaparte’s Gull – 1997

Larus philadelphia – Gwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant The Bonaparte’s Gull breeds in W Alaska and across Canada, wintering along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. A few are recorded annually in the UK.    The first Bonaparte’s Gull recorded in Pembrokeshire was shot at Solva in the spring of 1888 and taken into the bird […]

Bonaparte’s Gull – 1994

Larus philadelphia – Gwylan Bonaparte – Vagrant One was shot at Solva in the spring of 1888 (Lockley et al 1949).  Mathew (1894) seems not to have been aware of this species, nor indeed of the bird collection of H.W.Evans of Solva in whose hands it remained. Donovan J.W. & Rees G.H, 1994, Birds of […]