Really pleased to find an adult Bonaparte's Gull
in near-full breeding plumage at Passage House today. I initially picked up the bird from the southern side of the estuary, where it was relatively distant but good light meant I was able to confirm the key ID features - black hood with no hint of brown, a fairly thin black bill, short bubblegum-pink legs, noticeably smaller - and with slightly darker grey upperparts - than nearby Black-headed Gulls
. I waited until I'd driven round to Passage House and relocated it before I put the news out, since access to the southern side is limited at best. Unfortunately it was now dipping in and out of sight, and facing south the hazy sunshine bleached the colours, therefore it took a little while before everybody was able to get satisfactory views. Nice to bump into some familiar faces who managed to arrive quickly. It flew off down the estuary at 1pm but was relocated shortly before 6pm on the rising tide.
There have been quite a few records of Bonaparte's Gull on the Teign Estuary over the last decade, although most (if not all) sightings related to the same returning individual seen at several South Devon sites between 2011 and 2018. The last patch record was in March 2018