Interesting Stratford, CT egret

Yesterday late afternoon at the Access Road pool in Stratford (opposite R.E. Michel building) there was an odd egret standing thigh-deep in the water. It was Snowy Egret-like but had one long head plume and lores that were darker than usual, though still with warm/yellow tones. It did have a somewhat shaggy mane, a feature that is typical of Snowy Egret (and unlike Little Egret). Unsure of what to make of head/bill size and shape, as it appears somewhat large and mean in some of the poor images and more gentle and SNEG-like in others.

Not totally sure what to make of the bird, but I think hybrid Snowy x Little Egret is on the table (versus SNEG with anomalous head plume and darker-than-usual lores). These species breed side-by-side in the Caribbean (Barbados, at least), and hybrids have been reported there. I have personally seen a mixed pair at a colony in Barbados.

Views were poor through the phragmites, scoping was not possible, and I was politely urged along by local police that were monitoring an event across the street (they were only concerned with my safety).

The tall phragmites make viewing incredibly difficult, and beware that this can be a busy road.

Keep an eye out for this interesting bird, and get better photos if you can.

Of note, last summer Dan Field and I saw one of those Snowy Egrets with Little Egret-like head plumes in Guilford, CT...everything else about that bird was classing Snowy. Birds like that are occasionally reported in the northeast - essentially a Snowy Egret with a long head plume or two. IMO likely pure Snowy Egrets, as they never seem to show any other LIEG-like characters, but hybrids not ruled out.

This bird's odd lore color makes it a bit more interesting to me. As are the impression of a more dagger-like head/bill combo from most angles, less recurved rear body plumes and a less prominent mane from which the single long plume arises.

Here's what I was able to pull:

 - Nick


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