When news of a rare gull up on the north Wirral coast broke about a week ago I took notice but having seen the species several times before I wasn’t in a massive hurry to try to see it. Eventually, having a day off I decided to plan a journey to try to see the bird. With the pattern of the sightings being linked to tides I aimed to be up at Hoylake, on the prom, about an hour and a half before high tide.
On arrival a smattering of birders were there searching so I headed to an area with fewer folk so as to give better coverage. My scans paid a dividend when out on the tideline I picked up a Whimbrel. I just had time to direct one other birder onto it before it flew off and was lost to view. Also out on the sands were Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Sanderling, as well as groups of Sandwich & Common Terns. But still no rare gull!
I then received a message on a Whatsapp Bird Sightings Group, that the bird had been found further up the prom. After a bit of driving round the correct place was found and after a short yomp I asked the question – “is it still there?” Luckily the answer was “yes” and I was soon watching a North American Bonaparte’s Gull bobbing about on the water in amongst a flock of native Black-headed Gulls. This smaller cousin of our ‘Black-heads’ showed pretty well , albeit going in and out of view on the rise and the fall of the tidal swell. Several digiscoped shots were taken before it finally flew further along the prom and I decided to take my leave and say farewell.