Date: 11/7/18 9:08 pm
From: Matt Janson (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: FW: Watauga County egret
Mike et. al,
I want to point out that there is in fact a fall record for Intermediate
Egret in North America, also from the Western Aleutians, 28 September 2010
on Shemya; the bird was a first-year and ultimately collected. This report,
along with a nice side-by-side illustration comparing Intermediate and
Great Egrets, can be found in Rare Birds of North America by Howell,
Lewington, & Russell.
Best Regards,
Matt Janson
Ithaca, NY

On Wed, Nov 7, 2018 at 10:32 PM <mtove...> wrote:

> I’ve looked at the pics and also have some experience with Intermediate
> Egrets (Philippines, Hong Kong).
> My concern is that based on the photos, the mouth gape seems to extend
> beyond the center of the eye. Granted the bird's head is tucked down so
> it's hard to tell if this is real or an artifact. But in all the pics
> (where the head is in focus and visible), I consistently see what appears
> to be a “crease” that continues as an extension of the mouth gape past the
> center of the eye. I’m not certain either way, but it does give me pause.
> Regards other marks: I don’t believe that neck position/shape is a
> completely reliable field mark as it's behaviorally presented and birds can
> do things that are atypical (not that this was offered as a field mark).
> The gray legs and dark-tipped bill are consistent with the ID but for me at
> least, these “other marks” (and more – e.g., bill length/shape, head shape,
> etc.) are more useful to single out birds for careful scrutiny than confirm
> an ID. For me at least, I wasn’t comfortable with the ID if I didn’t see
> the mouth gape which is consistently touted as THE definitive field mark.
> Even where Intermediate Egrets were common (along with Greats), I recall
> hedging on the IDs of many.
> According to National Geographic Guide to Birds (6th edition), there is a
> single record of a moribund Intermediate Egret from Buldir Is., Alaska
> (western Aleutians), May 2006. Other than that, I’m unaware of any other
> records from North America and similarly I’m unaware of any fall records.
> Given that level of rarity, I would hope everyone is VERY sure that there’s
> no possible way this bird isn't a “funny” Great Egret and the rest isn’t a
> lot of enthusiastic wishful thinking. I know it’s tough but personally, I’d
> rather not ID a bird as a rarity (and be wrong) than the other way around.
> Obviously, it would be great if the bird could be refound and carefully
> scrutinized for definitive evidence one way or the other.
> Mike Tove

Matthew D. Janson
28270 NC

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