Bonaparte’s gulls on the wing

Bonaparte'sGull2 by CM ParsonsThis week I’ve been practicing with my new camera on a lively group of Bonaparte’s gulls (Chroicocephalus philadelphia). They’re great subjects — gliding, banking, dropping to the water, rising with a morsel — doing it all close to me, elegantly and not too quickly.

Bonaparte'sGull Fishing by CM Parsons

Bonaparte’s gulls have migrated from Alaska and northern Canada to spend the winter along the U.S. west coast to Baja (also in the U.S. southeast). The group I’ve been photographing has taken up residence in Monterey at El Estero (a small lagoon on the coast). These birds don’t have the black heads of breeding season.

Bonaparte'sGull1 by CM ParsonsAdults are in non-breeding plumage with pale heads and gray backs and the first-winter birds have dark streaking on wing coverts. (Can you find them in the photos?)

These little gulls may stay a while or move on. In the meantime, here they are on the wing.

Bonaparte'sGull6 by CM ParsonsBonaparte'sGull w:fish by CM Parsons

Bonaparte'sGull7 by CM Parsons

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