Leucistic Bonaparte's Gull at the Whirlpool, Niagara River

On Thursday 30 December, Declan Troy, Jan Doherty and I saw this leucistic Bonaparte's Gull at the Whirlpool on the Niagara River. Paul Prior and Michael King first spotted it on Tuesday 28 December and told us about it. Its whiteness caused it to loom larger than the mostly adult Bonaparte's Gulls around it. Its plumage was all white except for two grey marks on the scapulars symmetrical on both sides and a black ear spot on each side of the head with grey shading on the crown. The bill was entirely black. A leucistic Bonaparte's Gull has been on the River for the past few winters. I wonder if this is the same bird as before. If seen by itself, it could be confused with the larger Ivory Gull. The above photo was digiscoped from the aerial tram viewing platform.

Again on Sunday 2 January 2011, scoping from the overlook just north of the Butterfly Conservatory, we saw the leucistic Bonaparte's Gull across the river on the roosting rocks on the American side. See below.


Leucistic Bonaparte's with normal adult Bonaparte's Gulls at the roosting rocks on 2 January 2011.