Where: Chincoteague, VA • Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
Notes: I had just been photographing a large gaggle of two to three thousand Snow Geese, as skein after skein had splashed down in Swan Lake at Chincoteague NWR. Since already on that end of the refuge that afternoon, I decided to check the beach. I knew the light would be at my back and was hopeful to perhaps find some sandpipers. After a taking shots of a few Sanderlings, something flying down the beach caught my attention. I raised my lens and fired just in time, as this small thirteen inch long Gull with a thirty-one inch wide wingspan flew by. I had not had time to change my camera settings for this fly-by, so I was pleased at the sharpness and exposure. It was fortunate, because I was just trying to capture images of those fast moving white-bellied birds, the Sanderlings, as they attempted out run incoming waves. So, my ISO setting was up high enough to provide a super fast shutter speed and the compensation was already adjusted to guard against overexposing the whites on this graceful, dove-like bird. This bird was named after Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a zoologist and nephew of Napoleon. They are primarily migrants through Virginia and unlike some other gulls, this bird rarely scavenges.