Date: 12/23/18 6:47 pm
From: Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...>
Subject: [obol] Re: White Egret
Is there a photo with the neck stretched out? I sent Paul Thompson all of Sally Hill’s last tranche of photos.









> On Dec 23, 2018, at 7:39 PM, Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...> wrote:
>
> Recall that I wrote that the bird is an Intermediate Egret if the field marks, particularly the gap line, are distinctive between the species as has been reported in many forums by people who live within its range. If the gap line extending not beyond the eye is not characteristic, then there is no reason to conclude that it is an Intermediate Egret. I haven’t looked at Facebook. My comment was regarding discussions on the web that can be found by a simple web search. I have never indicated that it is a “settled” matter, but only that is if the gap line identification field mark is really distinctive. The reportedly definitive field mark is not one that I came up with, but one that is widely repeated as being distinctive.
>
> BTW: I received another email from an expert in Asian birds, Paul Thompson, who has lived in Bangladesh for many years. He is very smart guy (Oxford, etc.), a very good birder (I have birded with him several times) and a world wide birder. Here was his comment:
>
> "Hi Jeff,
> A pity it doesn't have its neck stretched, or a Great Blue Heron nearby for comparison, but it looks likely to be Intermediate. Gape looks ok, and the bill from tip to start of the feathering on the gular region is not longer than the head (bill to nape), which it is on Greater in Bangladesh. Hope it is and you are able to get it, but how it would have reached Oregon if wild is another question.
> cheers
> Paul”
>
> So we have another thing to look at - "the bill from tip to start of the feathering on the gular region is not longer than the head (bill to nape), which it is on Greater in Bangladesh.” (I have not researched this aspect of the identification, or have time until tomorrow to look at the existing photos.)
>
> I will send him the photo with the neck stretched, but I doubt that is an important ID aspect.
>
> BTW: I have no stake in the outcome. I would actually prefer not to fly back to Oregon to look for it (like I did for the Pyrrhuloxia and Common Scoter.
>
> Jeff gilligan
>
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>> On Dec 23, 2018, at 12:25 PM, Noah Strycker <noah.strycker...> <mailto:<noah.strycker...>> wrote:
>>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> I guess I have about as much experience as anyone on this list with Intermediate/Great egrets in other countries... which is to say I've wrangled with these birds a few times before, for better or worse ;)
>>
>> First, it seems to me that gape extent is helpful as a supporting feature but can be very difficult to judge without a point-blank view (as others have pointed out). Facial feathers often obscure the narrowing rearline of the gape on Great Egrets, making it appear shorter than it really is. There are many images on eBird showing this variation. For instance, look closely at the gape on these Great Egrets, all photographed in the US in the past few days - none of them appears to project behind the eye:
>>
>> https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/130535571 <https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/130535571>
>> https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/130451321 <https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/130451321>
>> https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/129885791 <https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/129885791>
>> https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/129653601 <https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/129653601>
>>
>> As for our bird, I guess I would hazard a rather small/variant Great Egret, which incidentally is overwhelmingly more likely than a hemispherically misplaced Intermediate Egret. In Sally's last photo it shows the classic "kink" in the upper neck typical for a Great Egret, instead of the gently symmetrical S-curve an Intermediate should have, although even this field mark can be subtle. I've seen unusually small Great Egrets in Oregon before, and they are known to have significant size variation, especially between males and females; heavier birds may weigh almost three times as much as lighter birds according to published studies. All birds show individual variation, of course, and I can remember cases of confusingly small gulls and other species in the past. See this interesting post from Sibley:
>>
>> http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/01/do-dwarf-birds-exist/ <http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/01/do-dwarf-birds-exist/>
>>
>> It's probably safest to leave this bird simply as "white egret sp," at least for now. Remember also that not all birds are safely identified, no matter how loud some voices in the room. I still have no idea about the infamous white egret <https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S39201795> (seen by many) at Malheur - even after studying it for an hour from literally 10 feet away, it had almost-equal characteristics of Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, and Little Blue Heron!
>>
>> But to indicate that this discussion is settled, or that "experts" have called our bird an Intermediate Egret, is misleading and unhelpful, especially when detailed comments like the one pasted below (from the Facebook ID group, and the most informative perspective I've seen about this bird by someone who has really studied these species) are being offered:
>>
>> Personally I wouldn’t ID this one as an Intermediate and from what I see, I would suggest that this is a runt Great egret. To me the bill looks too long for Intermediate for a start but it’s mainly some subtle details of the head that strongly point towards a Great egret. There is a noticeable difference in the size of the eye between the 2 sp, with Intermediate sporting a comparatively larger eye. Check out a few pics on the web (make sure they are correctly identified though...) and you’ll see it’s quite obvious once you have your eyes tuned into it: the eye of a Great egret appears tiny compared to Intermediate. The shape and colour of the loral bare skin patch is very useful and readily visible on the Oregon bird: it is somewhat narrow and thus looks rectangular rather than square. In Intermediate the loral patch is wider and thus appears square. The combination of these 2 features (eye size, shape of the loral patch) give to each sp a distinctly different facial expression once you know what to look for. I would also add that the lores don’t look especially yellow on the subject bird (rather greenish) and, perhaps more importantly, they sport at their bottom a black line that runs along the edge of the upper mandible: a typical feature of Great egret, as opposed to old world Great white egret, that was first brought to light by Sébastien Reeber as a possible feature that would help and separate nearctic birds from European birds. - Thibaut Chansac
>>
>> Merry birding,
>>
>> Noah Strycker
>>
>>
>> On Sun, Dec 23, 2018 at 9:12 AM Sally Hill <1sallyhill.9...> <mailto:<1sallyhill.9...>> wrote:
>> I have been following that discussion. Interesting.
>>
>> Sally Hill
>>
>>
>> On Dec 23, 2018, at 9:04 AM, Alan Contreras <acontrer56...> <mailto:<acontrer56...>> wrote:
>>
>>> Questions about the face pattern have been posted on the Advanced Bird I.D. page on Facebook. I’m not going to copy and paste the comments but those who are interested should check it out.
>>>
>>>
>>> Alan Contreras
>>> <acontrer56...> <mailto:<acontrer56...>
>>> Eugene, Oregon
>>>
>>> www.alanlcontreras.com <http://www.alanlcontreras.com/>
>>>
>>>
>>>> On Dec 23, 2018, at 8:55 AM, Jeff Gilligan <jeffgilligan10...> <mailto:<jeffgilligan10...>> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> If the published sources are correct, and the identification criteria as reported on chat sites by “experts” who live within the range of Intermediate Egret are correct in their comments, this is an Intermediate Egret.
>>>>
>>>> Unless the identification criteria is shown to be inaccurate, I will refer to the bird as an Intermediate Egret.
>>>>
>>>> Thank you for the additional photos. They are of plenty good enough quality to see the crucial identification factors.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Jeff Gilligan
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> On Dec 23, 2018, at 9:34 AM, Sally Hill <1sallyhill.9...> <mailto:<1sallyhill.9...>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> I overlooked two photos that have the next more extended.
>>>>> Here is link. https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50848667 <https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50848667>
>>>>>
>>>>> Sally Hill
>>>>> Eugene Oregon
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>


 
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