Date: 11/8/18 9:14 am
From: David Campbell (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: FW: Watauga County egret
As an added complication, separates
the Asian, African, and Australian "Intermediate" Egrets into different
species, chiefly differing in breeding colors.

On Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 12:08 AM Matt Janson <carolinabirds...> wrote:

> 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
> (704)-845-6030

Dr. David Campbell
Associate Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017

Join us on Facebook!