Bashakill – an unexpected surprise!

This morning I had some business in Middletown. As I often do, I decided to make a quick stop on Haven Road on my way. I pulled up by the bridge, parked and started to walk across the bridge. I only got a short way when I spied the family group of Common Gallinules along the weed line right near the bridge. I proceeded quietly and they eyed me for a moment then went back to what they were doing. I stood watching them for a couple of minutes when one of the juveniles swam across the channel to the other side. I moved to the end of the bridge to watch him better. I looked down over the edge of the bridge and was amazed to see a juvenile BONAPARTE’S GULL picking insects off the matted vegetation on the north side of the channel, only feet from the bridge. I have never seen a juvenile (hatch year) bird in the county before. By the time they normally get to us, they are in first winter plumage. Juvenile plumage is only retained for two months after fledging, July and August. I quietly and quickly returned to my jeep to get my camera (will I ever learn?). When I raised my head back out of the jeep, the bird was already in the air. It flew about 100 feet to the east over the channel then flew back only about forty feet from the bridge and landed on the water. I snapped one shot, and the camera jammed. Its amazing how touchy a camera can get when you roll it around in the dirt a couple of times, eeesh. I watched the bird for a couple of minutes while I tried to get the camera to work again. When I finally did, I looked up to see the bird heading right past me in the air. I was able to snap a second shot as it flew off, continuing right on through the Bashakill. This was a beautiful bird, its warm brown tones are quite impressive and i’m glad I had the chance to see it. Perhaps next time I’ll get to have more time and more photos.

A beautiful juvenile BONAPARTE'S GULL at the Bashakill on 8/12/15.

A beautiful juvenile BONAPARTE’S GULL at the Bashakill on 8/12/15.

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2 Responses to Bashakill – an unexpected surprise!

  1. Wilma Amthor says:

    Nice job, John. Retirement is getting even more needed.
    Then I’ll see more of these lovlies.


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