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Birds in Spain
by Ricard Gutiérrez
On 7.11.2003 I was in a hurry as always by 14:45, about to leave the reserve and head home. However, after a day of meetings, a brief visit to the marsh hide was better than nothing. Just to see what was about. There were, as noticeable, three Great White Egrets in the marsh, the highest number this autumn 2003 so far. However, one was in what I thought it was breeding plumage! A bit late for a bird that, at least in the birds that breed in the Ebro delta, is only in this breeding 'suite' for a few days... I phoned the Biological Station for if any interested and Xavier Santaeufemia just told me that one of our most regular visitors, Juan Bescós, had just seen the three egrets including the 'breeding plumaged' individual.
Bescós and Ricard Gutiérrez were the only observers since
the three birds departed that day not being visible during the weekend.
They had been in the reserve only for the friday 7.11.2003 afternoon. The
record was included in the database of the reserve and afterwards featured
in the recent reports section of this website. And nothing had happened
if the AERC website had not been updated and the existance of a gallery
on the presence of this form reminded.
as a winter plumaged Egretta alba alba but diferring in:
According to Voisin, C. 1991 The Herons of Europe, the complete reddish legs would not be present in the nominate ssp even in the highest peak of breeding season. None of the c.200 overwintering birds in NE Spain has ever shown this plumage.
You can download the full 5,1 Mb video in Windows Media Video (*.wmv) format from this link (hosted in the Llobregat Delta Nature Reserves website)
videocaptures copyrighted by Juán Bescós
foto de arriba muestra una típica garceta grande nominal en plumaje
de invierno tal y como aparece al final
La foto de dalt mostra un típic agró blanc en plomatge d'hivern tal i com apareix al final del video. Estaba al mateix lloc que l'altre i a la mateixa distància. S'inclou a efectes comparatius. Jo diria que era de tamany una mica més gran, amb el coll un pel més ample i el bec (millor mireu el video) una mica més robust, per bé què el color negre ja se sap que tendeix a aprimar.
All comments received on this bird are strongly suggesting the modesta spp with no alba bird ever known to see such an extent of red in the legs.
Modesta Great White Egret Egretta alba modesta at Llobregat Delta, Barcelona on 7th November 2003?
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