A personal portfolio
all photos & text by Don Roberson
all photos taken in California
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK Pheucticus ludovicianus
4 Aug 1992

The ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK is a regular spring & fall vagrant to California. A few spend the winter in California (often at feeders) when it is actually as common along the coast in winter as Black-headed Grosbeak (although both are rare in that season). A handful summer annually, often in the interior, and are seemingly becoming more common.

The photographed bird was of special interest to me because I was unaware that Rose-breasts that looked like this could occur in August, and had considered the possibility of a hybrid (with Black-headed). A typical male Rose-breasted had summered in this yard for two years. I sent photos of this individual to Dr. L.C. Binford and Dr. Ken Parkes, both of whom confirmed (in litt.) that the bird is simply an "adult" [>1 year old] Rose-breasted in basic plumage. The extensive white in the tail and the black-and-white wing coverts rule out a youngster. Thus this summering male in Monterey County molted into basic plumage by early August. It is possible that some "young male" Rose-breasts reported in fall are actually basic-plumaged adult males.

All of my California records are listed below. Those preceded by H were found or co-found by me personally; those preceded by K receive some partial credit (e.g., I was involved in sorting out i.d. of a previously discovered bird or refound a vagrant that had been thought to have left). My notes in the 1970s do not always sort out credit issues so it is possible additional birds might have been "self-found." As with many eastern vagrants, many more were seen during active rarity chasing throughout the state in younger days, and a higher percentage of records are from my local county (MTY) in recent years.

My personal Rose-breasted Grosbeak records:

6/1/74     Deep Springs INY     male
5/17/75     Clark Mt. SBE     1st summ male
5/26/75     Deep Springs INY     male
5/22-23/76     Deep Springs INY     male
5/24/76     Oasis MNO     2 males
5/31/76         Tollhouse Springs    male
6/3/76     Santa Barbara I. SBA     male
10/31/76     Furnace Creek INY     imm male
11/28/76     Scottys Castle INY     imm male; caught by a Roadrunner!
5/20/77     Kelso SBE     male
5/22-24/77     Deep Springs INY     male
5/27-31/77     Oasis MNO     female
H 6/11/77    Oasis MNO    female
6/13/77     Pt. Loma SD     female
H 6/18-26/77     SE Farallon I. SF     total of 4: 2 males, 2 females
5/25/78     Furnace Creek INY     male
5/28/78     Oasis MNO     male out in sagebrush
H 5/28/79     Ft. Piute SBE     singing male
5/30/79     Oasis MNO     2: singing male & female
5/22/81     Mesquite Springs INY     female
5/22/81     Oasis MNO     female
6/22/82     Pt. Reyes MRN     3: males Fish Docks (singing) & New Willows, fem at Lighthouse
12/18/83    Santa Cruz SCZ    female
1/12/84     Carmel MTY     imm male at Eleanor Mitchell’s feeder; color sketch & details in my notes
5/26/84     Oasis MNO     2 males
5/28/84     Deep Springs INY     male
5/27/85     Oasis MNO     male
12/31/86     Pebble Beach MTY     imm male at Eliz. Ingles’ feeder
7/29/91     Del Rey Oaks MTY     ad. male at Citron’s feeder
8/3&4/92     Del Rey Oaks MTY     ad. male in basic pl.; photos
5/29/96     Big Sur R. mouth MTY     female banded & released at BSOL; photo
11/6/96     Carmel R. mouth MTY     imm male; details in my notes
H 5/16/97     Big Sur R. mouth MTY      female in Cooper eucalyptus; details in my notes
H 9/14/97     Big Sur R. mouth MTY      female at pumphouse; details in my notes
H 9/23/00     near Pt. Sur MTY     imm male in “hidden hollow”; details in my notes
See the family page for county abbreviations. All photos & text © 2001 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.
Readers may use this material for their own private enjoyment, study, or research but none of the photos or text herein may be used commercially nor may they be reposted on other web sites without written permission. All material is copyrighted. The posting of photos and text on this private web site is not a submission to review organizations, including, but not limited to, the California Bird Records Committee. However, blanket permission for use of descriptions by North American Birds editors in their research is granted, and serious researchers in general are granted permission to use the records cited herein.






Page created 4 July 2001