[Ontbirds]Possible Reddish Egret at Point Pelee

Alan Wormington wormington at juno.com
Tue Jun 1 18:25:38 EDT 2004

Tom Hurst (who works at Pelee Wings) provided an excellent description of
what sounds like an immature (one-year-old) Reddish Egret.

He saw the bird in the flooded field along Concession Road D, late
yesterday (May 31) from about 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.  Not knowing about his
sighting, I was also there at about 7:30 p.m. but did not see anything
out of the ordinary.

All week there has been two Great Egrets feeding in this field, along
with about a dozen Great Blue Herons.  Tom also saw the two Great Egrets,
plus the abberant third individual.  When I was there, the two Great
Egrets were still present.

Part of his description is as follows:

". . . an Egret with white plumage, a large black bill, black legs, black
feet and grey almost black lores.  For the first 30 minutes the bill
appeared completely black with a slightly lighter tip shading to light
bone.  Before I left, however, I noticed pale yellow markings on the
margins of the bill opening.  The bird was noticeably shorter (by a few
inches) than the two Great Egrets that walked by it but the difference
was not dramatic (ie. snowy vs.
great).  The egret's long neck was shaped just like that of a Great Egret
when at rest but when extended, the neck's feathers seemed to give the
neck a slight ruffled or cork screw appearance . . . "

During the observation he concluded that the bird was probably an odd
Great Egret, since it did not seem to match the Reddish Egrets he had
seen down south (that is, adult birds which have pink-based bills). 
However, after he returned home and looked at Sibley, he realized that
what he saw matched a one-year-old Reddish Egret (which does not have a
pink-based bill).  His notation of dark gray lores is also very
suggestive of Reddish Egret.

Thought this information should be put out, since the bird could still be
in the area.  Anyone birding in the Point Pelee--Hillman Marsh--Wheatley
Harbour area should carefully check any white herons that they encounter.

Note that there is one prior record of Reddish Egret in the Great Lakes
Region -- about a decade (?) ago one was found at Point Moullie
(spelling?), which is on Lake Erie just south of Detroit.

Alan Wormington,

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