[Tweeters] Ridgefield Egretta

Michael Dossett phainopepla at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 7 14:54:46 PDT 2006


I thought I would offer my two cents on this bird.  I
usually stay back and watch these sorts of debates on
the listserv in hopes of learning something, however
in this case I think I have a little bit to offer the
discussion.  While I don't have lots of accumulated
experience with either of the two species in question,
I was in New Jersey about 3 weeks ago and had the
opportunity to study both young Little Blue Herons and
Snowy Egrets side by side at length.  This was sparked
by my seeing a young Snowy Egret one morning at
Brigantine NWR and asking myself why it wasn't a young
Little Blue Heron, then spending much of the rest of
the day looking at the differences between them.

>From the Sullivan's photos I had no problem calling
this bird a Snowy Egret.  The plumage, bare-parts
coloration, structure, and depiction of the bird
running all pointed squarely to my calling the bird a
Snowy Egret.

After looking at Wilson Cady's photos I had a little
pause, but I still believe this bird is fine for a
Snowy Egret.  Wilson's photos show the bird appearing
to have a somewhat thicker neck and a thicker bill.  I
think some of this can be attributed to forshortening
of the bill due to the angle of the head, however, I
also feel that this is certainly within the range of
variation expected to be seen in young Snowy Egrets. 
I saw very many young Snowy Egrets last month with
thick and strongly bicolored bills *just* like this
bird shows.  I don't feel that this should be the
strike against Snowy Egret that many are making it out
to be.

I think the main thing that is tripping people up here
is they are caught up looking at the bill and that
makes them think of Little Blue Heron.  I would love
the opportunity to travel the hour and a half or so to
see this bird but won't have the chance unless it
stays around as I am leaving this weekend for Idaho
for a few weeks.  I think more photos and descriptions
of this bird could help clear up the matter for many
people.  As for me, I'm squarely in the Snowy Egret

Michael Dossett
Corvallis, Oregon
phainopepla at yahoo.com

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