Neither one nor the other
Yesterday I viewed with others a fuller set of photos of the Fakenham Great Grey Shrike. It was possible for the first time to see full details of the degree of white at the base of the inner secondaries and in the tail pattern. Ideally there should be no ‘step’ in the white pattern but continuous broad band of white running between secondaries and primaries. There is an obvious step on this bird. Furthermore the tail pattern does not have enough white for convincing homeyeri pattern. Frustrating, but a great chance to learn.
Other features, I think, still make it outstanding from excubitor, so it remains a fascinating bird, but not enough to bag a full homeyeri I think.
Is it ‘just’ a Grey Grey Shrike (nominate excubitor) then? No IMO (I kind of want to say, no way!) – For someone to say it just an excubitor would be to imply they had fully studied the limits of plumage characters of excubitor extensively and from across the range. The evidence I think is still compelling that there are nevertheless a number of pro-homeyeri characters on the bird. A Birding ID Frontier, with much to be discovered! Best label for the bird is perhaps an intergrade.
Still fascinating, still much to learn from it, still worth seeing.
Have a great New Year Year’s eve.
P.S. Result of the mystery bird call after New Years Day…