Date: 12/23/18 2:28 pm
From: Alan Contreras <acontrer56...>
Subject: [obol] Re: White Egret
One of the distinctive aspects of some cases like this, and which is applicable to the Indescribable Egret) (aka Unnecessary Egret, Ardea whybotheri) is the joy of dueling experts.

No one who saw the bird in the first few days thought they saw an Intermediate Egret and set out to make the sale. They checked into a report of Cattle Egret, a good local rarity, photographed a smallish large egret and, in effect, asked various experts what it was. The answers have now come back with various points of view. Most of us who looked yesterday and today never saw a bird that matched the original description. We saw a few candidates that fizzled.

I think the pump-priming here was primarily a result of the first two international experts who commented privately making positive noises about the bird. As this fact seeped into the birding community, those of us who had no clue how to i.d. an Intermediate Egret naturally followed the early “expert” line and looked for what we thought we were supposed to look for. That line has now become something of a dendritic maze.

With luck the next wild winter rarity will be something easy to i.d. I’d like Gray Wagtail.

Alan Contreras
Eugene, Oregon

Join us on Facebook!