Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bonaparte's Gull, Oare Marshes NR

Saturday evening, a full moon, it seemed perfect for a visit to The Brecks searching for Nightjars!  We waited in our chosen spot and as the light faded and the moon appeared the first "churring" Nightjar was heard. As the churring stopped the first views of a wing-clapping and calling bird appeared close by. This was to be the pattern for the remainder of the evening. Several birds would start churring from nearby trees, then silence, soon to be followed by the presence close by of a calling bird in flight. Along with the Nightjars several Tawny Owls were also very vocal.

After a couple of hours sleep, it's another early morning outing. This time to Oare Marshes NR hoping to connect with the returning Bonaparte's Gull. we parked up along the road and scanned the East Flood for the Bonaparte's. 

View across East Flood from the road.

There's no sign and with the tide out on the Swale it's more likely to be feeding out on the mud until high tide. Before heading towards the slipway, we are distracted by the sound of a Turtle Dove "purring". It's soon found sitting on top of a telegraph pole. Another bird is also heard calling a short distance away.
After several scans for the Bonaparte's from the slipway, we are told by another birder that the bird is feeding on the mud further West and closer towards the hide. Another scan and the Bonaparte's is quickly found among the Black-headed Gulls. Below is the record shot I managed to grab by holding the phone to the scope.

Feeding out on the mud of The Swale

Luckily Brian had his camera ready when the bird took flight and headed for East Flood. Grabbing the image below as it crossed the sea wall.

Returning for it's fifth year at Oare Marshes and arriving back yesterday on exactly the same date as last year! The first sighting of presumably the same individual was back in June of 2013. 

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