Annotated checklist and data resource
text © Don Roberson
photos copyrighted by photographer(s) credited
all photos taken in Monterey County, California
MTY = Monterey County
Part 3: Herons through Cranes
MTY status & distribution
if photo, usually a thumbnail;
if specimen or details,
so indicated
Credits or comment
American Bittern
Botaurus lentiginosus
Breeds locally: very rare breeder on McCluskey Slough (3 pairs max). Scarce migrant & winter visitor to marshes throughout
photo © Bill Hill
Mar 2003 Carmel R. mouth
Least Bittern
Ixobrychus exilis
Very rare spring & fall visitor; six records through 2003
no photos from MTY
several description & sketches
incl. this one 4 May 1988 from Crespi Pond by D. Roberson
Great Blue Hero
Ardea herodias
Breeds locally: small nesting colonies are widely scattered in MTY but concentrated in south MTY and at Elkhorn Slough. Common year-round visitor away from colonies throughout 
photo © Bill Hill
Mar 2003 Carmel R. mouth
Great Egret
Ardea alba
Breeds locally: one nesting colony on Ellkhorn Slough. Rather common year-round visitor to marshes, estuaries & coastline throughout
photo © Don Roberson
3 July 1995 Elkhorn Slough
Snowy Egret
Egretta thula
Breeds locally: one nesting colony on McCluskey Slough. Fairly common year-round visitor to marshes, estuaries & coastline throughout
photo © Don Roberson
25 Jan 2004 Moss Landing
Little Blue Heron
Egretta caerulea
Very rare vagrant; four records scattered seasonally
photo © Bill Hill
19 June 1999 Carmel R. mouth
Tricolored Heron
Egretta tricolor
Exceptional vagrant; one record (June 1999)
photo © Don Roberson
31 May 1999 Pt. Sur
Reddish Egret
Egretta rufescens
Very rare vagrant; one fall & one winter record through 2003
photo of dead bird © D. Roberson
8 Jan 1990 Moss Landing
[specimen to CAS]; also
several field descriptions
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus ibis
Scarce fall & winter visitor, rare in spring; most records from Elkhorn Slough vicinity
photo © Don Roberson
15 May 2003 Moonglow Dairy
Green Heron
Butorides virescens
Breeds widely but secretively in interior riparian habitats: uncommon resident. Found more widely in fall & winter throughout
photo © Ronald L. Branson
July 1983 San Antonio River
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax
Breeds locally: uncommon resident near colonies at Pt. Lobos and in Elkhorn Slough vicinity. Scarce fall & winter visitor elsewhere in marshy edges or coastal tidepools throughout
photo © Don Roberson
Aug 1982 Pt. Pinos
White-faced Ibis
Plegadis chihi
Rare but increasingly regular fall wanderer to coast, especially around Elkhorn Slough. Rare visitor throughout at other seasons
photo © John Sorensen
Oct 1996 Crespi Pond
Roseate Spoonbill
Ajaia ajaja
Exceptional vagrant; one record (Jan-Feb 1978)
photo © Bernadette Ramer
Jan 1978 Moss Landing
Wood Stork
Mycteria americana
Exceptional summer vagrant; two records (June-July)
photo © Ronald L. Branson
July 1976 Post Ranch, Big Sur
Turkey Vulture
Cathartes aura
Breeds widely: common summer resident over most of the interior; most withdraw south for winter but some winter along the coast
photo © Don Roberson
17 June 2003 Big Sur coast
California Condor
Gymnogyps californianus
Formerly a nesting resident in the interior of MTY a century ago; wandering wild condors occurred until 1980. A current reintroduction project has the goal of reestablishing a local nesting population. See the page on "Condors in Monterey" for more details
photo © Ivan Eberle
11 June 2000 Chews Ridge
Pandion haliaetus
Uncommon spring & fall migrant and winter visitor to larger lakes and rivers, and along coast. Scarce in summer; may have once bred but evidence lacking. Could nest in future
 photo © Greg Hoffmann
17 Jan 2003 Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Research Reserve
White-tailed Kite
Elanus leucurus
Breeds widely: uncommon resident in open country near riparian habitat. Roosts communal in fall & winter
photo © Don Roberson
Oct 2001 Carmel R. mouth
Bald Eagle
Haleaeetus leucocephalus
Re-established breeder: nests locally in sw. MTY. Formerly bred on coast but extirpated by 1934. Small population re-established in 1980s-1990s by Ventana Wilderness Society. Also rare migrant and winter visitor from populations outside MTY; regular in winter on Lake San Antonio
photo © Don Roberson
11 Feb 1989 Pt. Pinos
Northern Harrier
Circus cyaneus
Breeds locally: rare summer resident of marshes and grasslands. Numbers much increased in fall & winter by migrants 
photo © Ronald L. Branson
July 1981 Gloria Road
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Accipiter striatus
Breeds locally; rare summer resident in forested country. Numbers much increased in fall & winter by migrants
photo © Don Roberson
20 Sep 1998 Big Sur R. mouth
Cooper's Hawk
Accipiter cooperii
Breeds widely: uncommon resident of riparian woodlands. Numbers much increased in fall & winter by migrants
photo © Don Roberson
23 Dec 1990 Moonglow Dairy
Northern Goshawk
Accipiter gentilis
Very rare migrant; three spring & fall records through 2003
no photos from MTY
several descriptions
incl. this one 30 Nov 1992
from Salinas
by R.F. Tintle
Red shouldered Hawk
Buteo lineatus
Breeds widely: common in lowland woodlands and suburbs
photo © Don Roberson
June 1984 Carmel Valley
Broad-winged Hawk
Buteo platypterus
Rare fall migrant and very rare winter visitor, primarily along the coast
photo © Don Roberson
2 Nov 1982 Pacific Grove
Swainson's Hawk
Buteo swainsoni
Rare spring (Mar-May) & fall (Sep-Oct) migrant, with a couple recent records from Nov & Dec. Formerly bred in interior oak savanna but last breeding was before 1930
photo © John Sorensen
20 Nov 2005 Moss Landing
Zone-tailed Hawk
Buteo albonotatus
Very rare vagrant but two records since 2001 (one wintered locally)
photo © Don Roberson
8 Mar 2003 lower Carmel Valley
Red-tailed Hawk
Buteo jamaicensis
Breeds widely: common resident throughout. Numbers increased in winter by visitors from outside MTY
photo © Don Roberson
10 Jan 2004 Gloria Road
Ferruginous Hawk
Buteo regalis
 Uncommon winter visitor throughout interior; sparsely scattered towards coast in fall & winter in open grasslands
photo © Don Roberson
Jan 1983 Cholame Valley
Rough-legged Hawk
Buteo lagopus
 Uncommon and irregular winter visitor to open country; in some winters fair numbers but in other winters none at all
photo © Don Roberson
Jan 1983 Cholame Valley
Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos
 Breeds locally; uncommon resident in open country of interior MTY; scattered sparsely in fall & winter to coast
photo © Don Roberson
6 Oct 1978 Lapis Rd., Marina
Crested Caracara
Caracara cheriway
 Exceptional vagrant; one record (Aug 2002)

this link has details on this record and a nearby Santa Cruz Co. bird (very likely same bird)

photo © Bill Hill
12 Aug 2002 Lapis Rd., Marina
American Kestrel
Falco sparverius
 Breeds widely: fairly common summer resident throughout. More arrive in winter when it is common in open country throughout
photo © Don Roberson
2 Jan 2004 Lapis Road, Marina
Falco columbarius
 Uncommon winter visitor throughout lowlands, mostly on the coast; scarce spring & fall migrant throughout
photo © Don Roberson
Dec 1982 Pebble Beach
Peregrine Falcon
Falco peregrinus
 Breeds locally: rare resident along Big Sur coast. Migrants and winter visitors occur sparsely throughout
photo © Don Roberson
2 Nov 2003 Big Sur R. mouth
Prairie Falcon
Falco mexicanus
 Breeds locally: rare resident of open country in s. MTY. Numbers increased in winter by migrants that are sparsely scattered throughout
photo © Don Roberson
Jan 1983 Cholame Valley
Yellow Rail
Coturnicops noveboracensis
Now very rare vagrant; was presumably once more regular in migration. Last record in fall 1970
no photo for MTY
MTY specimen lost in 1906 SF earthquake/fire; also field description
Black Rail
Laterallus jamaicensis
 Very rare fall vagrant; one record (Sep 1967)
no photo for MTY
specimen at PGMNH
from 29 Sep 1967 Pacific Grove
Clapper Rail
Rallus longirostris
Extirpated: former resident on Elkhorn Sough and Tembladero Slough. Last observed in 1980
 no photo for MTY
specimens at CAS
and numerous
field details
Virginia Rail
Rallus limicola
 Breeds locally: rare summer resident in freshwater marshes. Fairly common winter visitor throughout
 photo © Robert F. Tintle
16 Sep 1988 Carmel R. mouth
Porzana carolina
 Breeds locally: rare summer resident in Salinas Valley. Fairly common winter visitor throughout
photo © Robert F. Tintle
5 May 1990 Carmel R. mouth
Common Moorhen
Gallinula chloropus
 Breeds locally: rare summer resident in Salinas Valley. Scarce migrant & winter visitor throughout
photo © Don Roberson
30 Dec 1991 Roberts Lake
American Coot
Fulica americana
 Breeds widely: common resident. Numbers increased in winter by migrants from outside of MTY
photo © Don Roberson
23 Apr 1996 Marina
Sandhill Crane
Porzana carolina
 Very rare late fall & winter vagrant. Formerly wintered locally in Salinas Valley
photo © John Sorensen
Jan 1995 N of Moss Landing

Use these links to reach other portions of the Monterey County list:

Part 1: Waterfowl through Grebes
Part 2: Albatrosses through Frigatebirds
Part 3: Herons through Cranes
Part 4: Plovers through Sandpipers
Part 5: Jaegers through Alcids
Part 6: Doves through Woodpeckers
Part 7: Flycatchers through Larks
Part 8: Swallows through Pipits
Part 9: Waxwings through Warblers
Part 10: Tanagers through Sparrows
Part 11: Grosbeaks through Finches
or just the plain Checklist (no annotations)
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. 
for more information on the status & distribution of birds in Monterey County,
see Monterey Birds 2d ed.
by Don Roberson

click on cover (right) for ordering information and more details about the book




Page created 10-25 Jan 2004, updated 1 Apr 2006