Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Bonaparte's Gull

Seward, Alaska

I thought I heard the growl-y voice of a BONAPARTE'S GULL, but after an eager search, dismissed it. They just aren't very common in Seward. Then, I found one standing near some MEW GULLS. It looked so small!
In addition to the small size, note the thin black bill, dark smudge on the head, remnants of brown coloration on the wings, narrow black tail band, and pinkish legs.

Many thanks to Steve Heinl who identified it as last year's chick, now in its first summer (first molt cycle) plumage. This year's chicks, if there are any Bonapartes nesting around here, should start appearing in mid-July.

Check out the Anything Larus website at http://www.anythinglarus.com/2010/11/preformative-molt-and-bonapartes-gull.html for more photos and detailed explanations of the Bonaparte's and other gull's molting cycles. They are an interesting and challenging group!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold

Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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