There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bonaparte's Gull

Larus philadelphia

Small gull
Thin, short, black bill
Pinkish-orange legs
Light slate-gray back
Black wing-tips
Non-breeding adult:
     White head
     Dark ear-spot
Breeding adult: (not photographed)
     Black head
     Incomplete white eye-ring

Listen to its call.

It was rather blustery at Cattle Point this afternoon but that didn't stop these little gulls from enjoying themselves. A large number of them were flying just off the shore, floating gracefully in the wind.  They were  smaller and more delicate than any of the other gulls I've seen so far.  

Incidentally, this gull was not named after Napoleon but after his nephew, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800s. I guess its diminutive stature is just a coincidence.

Learn more about the Bonaparte's Gull.

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