It was early morning when news of a West midlands mega filtered out, as a stunning summer plumaged BONAPARTE'S GULL was found at Marsh Lane NR near Meriden.
With college in the afternoon, it was with luck that Mike said he would go for it, and that evening we started on the cross county journey. My only previous experience with this reserve was dipping a Dusky Warbler, so I was hoping the site could redeem itself on this visit.
As many readers of this blog will know, I have a certain fascination with Gulls, and summer plumaged Bonaparte's has been high on the agenda for some time, it really is a smart looking bird! To think I was considering trying to head down to Cardiff to see a 1st winter during the winter (I didn't) this made a much better alternative.
While driving over, I was informed by Neil that the bird wasn't present, but not much longer after, he text again saying it had just dropped in!
It wasn't much longer and we were pulling into the carpark, and walking towards the railway pool.
And sitting on one of the islands in the pool was a stunning, velvety headed BONAPARTE'S GULL!
We all had brilliant views, as it strutted around in the short grass and taking a short flight. When landed, it's fleshy pink legs were also dramatically different from adjacent Black-headed Gulls.
I managed to take a few snaps before the unthinkable happened, and after no more than a few minutes viewing, the bird took flight, flying over the railway line to the south and dropping out of sight behind a row of Hawthorns, and the bird was never seen again, by anyone! (Well, not in the midlands anyway)
So a brief stroke of luck there!
As you would expect, this luck was quickly countered by the exact opposite, and while driving towards the M6, we broke down on the side of a busy A-road and our journey back took much longer than expected!
(For those of you wanting to check out Neils post of the evening, and to see a better photo, see here)