Dr. Veit and I spent some time looking at plates and relevant literature at
the College of Staten Island- we were able to rule out Little Blue Heron
and Western Reef Heron, and are now leaning toward the ID being HY Little
Egret -

Here is the email Dick sent to SINaturalist:

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Richard Veit rrvei...@gmail.com [SINaturaList] <
Date: Sun, Jul 9, 2017 at 2:09 PM
Subject: [SINaturaList] Egret at Goethal's Bridge Pond
To: <sinatural...@yahoogroups.com>

We (Ramirez, Wollney, Eib, Grant, Sime, Paul, Ciancimino) have now spent a
good deal of time examining the egret at GBP, and Anthony Cianciamino and
Seth Wollney have obtained some useful photos.

My opinion is that he bird is a Little Egret. It is possible we cannot
eliminate with certainty the chance of it being snowy egret, but it seems
the probability strongly favors little.   We have seriously considered, and
rejected, the possibility of little blue heron and western reef heron, as

LB Heron:  despite bicolored looking bill (it looks black in some light),
other features mitigate against lbh.  The bird has longer bill and legs
than all nearby snowies, pure white primaries (no dark tips; lbh has
shorter bill and legs than snowy), contrastingly yellow feet, especially
the "soles",  and the overall shape (flat crown, long neck and bill) looks
right for little egret.  Howell et al. "Rare Birds of North
America" illustrate "juvenile" little Egret with bicolored bill, and there
is a photo of such a bird banded in England on the "CHOG" website
(google"juvenile little egret").

Western Reef heron:  in addition to the white morph of western reef heron
being scarce or never recorded in western hemisphere, these have shorter
legs and differently colored bill than our bird.

Snowy Egret:  this bird has darker legs, longer bill and legs and flatter
crown than all ~ 20 snowies with whom it is associated.  While it is not
impossible for a snowy to look this way, the fact that this bird stands out
so clearly lessens the possibility that it is a snowy.

The Goethal's bird looks older somehow than a two-week old snowy - and
Buckley et al. "The Birds of Barbados" state that Little Egrets (15-25
pairs) nest throughout the year at Barbados with a peak of egg laying in
dec-feb, so a vagrant from that colony to new York  could appropriately be
older than a week or two (more like 3 months-ish)  consistent with this
birds plumage and behavior.

It will be worth monitoring this bird in the event it stays longer and
molts into more advanced plumage (or soft part colors)

Richard R. Veit
Professor, Biology
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
fax 718-982-3852

Posted by: Richard Veit <rrvei...@gmail.com>
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José Ramírez-Garofalo

Research Assistant
College of Staten Island


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