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 10: Tanagers through Sparrows
MTY status & distribution
if photo, usually a thumbnail;
if specimen or details,
so indicated
Credits or comments
Hepatic Tanager
Piranga flava
Exceptional winter vagrant; one record in southern MTY (Jan 1966)
description only
no photo in MTY
short written
details from 1966
Summer Tanager
Piranga rubra
Rare vagrant with records now spanning the seasons, with a slight peak in late fall and winter. Most are at flowering ornamentals or eucalyptus (winter), or at coastal vagrant traps (fall & spring migrations)
photo © Scott MacDonald,
Salinas Californian
Jan 2003 Laguna Grande
park, Seaside
Scarlet Tanager
Piranga olivacea
Very rare late fall vagrant; three records (Oct-Nov)
photo © Don Roberson
2 Nov 2003 Big Sur R. mouth
Western Tanager
Piranga ludoviciana
Breeds widely in mountains: fairly common summer resident in pine forests of higher elevations; widespread migrant throughout; rare in winter at ornamental plantings or in flowering eucalyptus
photo © Don Roberson
16 May 1995 Pacific Grove
Green-tailed Towhee
Pipilo chlorurus
Rare vagrant, mostly in fall but a few in spring; a handful have wintered in coastal scrub or suburban gardens
photo © Don Roberson
3 Feb 2003 Pacific Grove
Spotted Towhee
Pipilo maculatus
Breeds widely: common resident of chaparral, brushy undergrowth, and suburban gardens; fall migrants and winter visitors swell local numbers (Oct-Mar)
photo © Don Roberson
30 Sep 2003 Chews Ridge
California Towhee
Pipilo crissalis
Breeds widely: common resident of chaparral, brushy undergrowth, and suburban gardens
photo © Don Roberson
6 June 1999 Pacific Grove
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Aimophila ruficeps
Breeds widely but patchily: locally fairly common resident of grassy hillsides with rocky outcroppings. Most of this habitat is well outside "usual" birding routes and much of it is not easily accessible
photo © Robert F. Tintle
18 June 1992 Bixby Canyon
American Tree Sparrow
Spizella arborea
Very rare fall vagrant, all records through 2003 have been in fall (Sep-Nov) along the coast
photo © Robert F. Tintle
20 Sep 1990 Carmel R. mouth
Chipping Sparrow
Spizella passerina
Breeds widely but patchily: locally common summer resident of open woodlands (interior oak or montane oak-pine); rare in winter. Regular in small numbers along the coast in fall migration
photo © Don Roberson
8 Sep 1996 Big Sur R. mouth
Clay-colored Sparrow
Spizella pallida
Rare but regular fall vagrant, mostly along the coast; very rare in winter
photo © Don Roberson
13 Nov 1982 Pebble Beach
Brewer's Sparrows
Spizella breweri
Very rare vagrant, mostly in fall (exceptional in spring)
photo © Mike Tyner
13 Sep 2004 Dolan Pt.
Black-chinned Sparrow
Spizella atrogularis
Breeds locally and erratically: rare and local summer resident in Santa Lucia Mountains, generally in recently burned areas, but sometimes in chaparral habitats elsewhere (e.g., Garrapata SP or Pinnacles NM). Very rare migrant along the outer coast
photo © Don Roberson
3 June 1984 Chews Ridge
Vesper Sparrow
Pooecetes gramineus
Uncommon winter visitor to extensive grasslands in southeastern MTY (Peachtree and Cholame valleys); rare vagrant to the coast (most in late fall)
photo © Don Roberson
26 Jan 1982 Peachtree Valley
Lark Sparrow
Chondestes grammacus
Breeds widely: fairly common resident of open oak woodlands. Large numbers sometimes concentrate in interior grasslands in winter. Rather rare as a fall or spring vagrant along the coast
photo © Don Roberson
18 Jan 2004 Turkey Flat
Black-throated Sparrow
Amphispiza bilineata
Rare fall vagrant; exceptional in spring. Most records are of coastal vagrants in juvenal or imm. plumage in September, and some have been initially misidentified as "Sage Sparrows"
photo © John Sorensen
15 Sep 1996 Big Sur R. mouth
Sage Sparrow
Amphispiza belli
Breeds widely: common resident of chamise chaparral in rolling foothills of the interior; rather scarce in coastal maritime chaparral. Although common and widespread, most of the habitat is far from the "usual" birding routes and much is inaccessible. Our local subspecies belli [Bell's Sparrow] could someday be split from paler interior populations.
photo © Don Roberson
12 Jun 1990 San Lucas-
Lockwood Road
Lark Bunting
Calamospiza melanocorys
Rare fall vagrant, very rare in winter or spring. Most are coastal vagrants in Sep-Oct, most often in grassy margins to open wetlands
photo © Don Roberson
12 Sep 1997 Salinas wtp
Savannah Sparrow
Passerculus sandwichensis
Breeds locally: uncommon resident of tidal marshes and adjacent grasslands. Common and widespread migrant and winter visitor throughout, preferring grasslands or marshy edges
photo © Don Roberson
22 Dec 2000 Moss Landing
Grasshopper Sparrow
Ammodramus savannarum
Breeds widely in local colonies: fairly common in shortgrass fields and grasslands in both the interior and along the coastal bluffs; rare in winter but apparently regular
photo © John Sorensen
Apr 1993 east of King City
Le Conte's Sparrow
Ammodramus leconteii
Exceptional fall vagrant; one record (Oct 1974)
photo © Ronald L. Branson
19 Oct 1974 Crespi Pond
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Ammodramus nelsoni
Very rare fall or winter vagrant in coastal marshes; secretive and retiring, some recent individuals found during high tides at Elkhorn Slough
photo © Don Roberson
13 Jan 2002 Elkhorn Slough
near Moonglow Dairy
Fox Sparrow
Passerella iliaca
Common winter visitor (Oct-Apr) in chaparral and undergrowth throughout; very rare in summer. Chocolate-brown "Sooty Fox Sparrow" is the common wintering bird but birds of both "Slate-colored" and "Thick-billed" groups occur sparsely as migrants. Northern "Red Fox Sparrow" is a rare vagrant in late fall & winter
photo © Don Roberson
2 Dec 1995 Big Sur R. mouth
a "Sooty" type, prob. of subspecies annectens
Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia
Breeds widely: common resident of coastal scrub, riparian thickets, and brushy margins to wetlands. Additional birds of other subspecies winter or occur as migrants
photo © Robert F. Tintle
Nov 1996 Carmel R. mouth
Lincoln's Sparrow
Melospiza lincolnii
Uncommon winter visitor but fairly common fall & spring migrant throughout; very rare in summer. Shy and retiring in brush, wet grass, and riparian thickets
photo © Don Roberson
11 Jan 2004 Pacific Grove
Swamp Sparrow
Melospiza georgiana
Rare but regular fall migrant & winter visitor, very rare in spring. Most are found in coastal riparian or marshy habitats
photo © Robert F. Tintle
29 Oct 1988 Carmel R. mouth
White-throated Sparrow
Zonotrichia albicollis
Rare fall migrant and winter visitor throughout (most are Oct-Mar), occurring in riparian corridors, brushy undergrowth, and suburban gardens, usually with flocks of other Zonotrichia. Often at feeders; 5-10 reported each year but numbers likely much higher

See species page for more photos and details

photo © Don Roberson
25 Jan 2004 Elkhorn Slough
Estuarine Research Reserve
Harris's Sparrow
Zonotrichia querula
Very rare winter visitor (Nov-Apr), always in flocks of other Zonotrichia. Vast majority of records are from feeders
photo © John Sorensen
Feb 2000 near Elkhorn
White-crowned Sparrow
Zonotrichia leucophrys
Breeds locally; local yellow-billed subspecies nuttalli  is a resident of coastal scrub and sand dunes; yellow-billed pugetensis and pink-billed gambelii winter commonly throughout, usually in more open areas than next species (but much overlap). Winter birds present from mid-September into April
photo © Robert F. Tintle
117 June 1989 Plaskett Creek
singing nuttalli
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Zonotrichia atricapilla
Common winter visitor throughout, prefers thickets and undergrowth, and common in residential gardens
photo © Don Roberson
24 Dec 2003 Pacific Grove
Dark-eyed Junco
Junco hyemalis
Breeds widely; local race pinosus resident in coniferous forests. Other "Oregon Junco" subspecies winter throughout; eastern "Slate-colored" is scarce but annual in late fall & winter; interior "Gray-headed" is very rare fall & winter vagrant
photo © Robert F. Tintle
July 1988 Pebble Beach
local pinosus subspecies
McCown's Longspur
Calcarius mccownii
Very rare late autumn vagrant; two records east of Gonzales, possibly same bird returning in consecutive years
no photo in MTY
several descriptions and sketches,
including this from 4 Dec 2000 near Gonzales by D. Roberson
Lapland Longspur
Calcarius lapponicus
Rare but fairly regular fall vagrant, rarer in winter, very rare in spring; often with flocks of Horned Lark
photo © Don Roberson
12 Feb 2005
east of Gonzales
Smith's Longspur
Calcarius pictus
Exceptional vagrant; one record (Sep 1990)
photo © Don Roberson
14 Sep 1990 Moonglow Dairy,
Moss Landing
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Calcarius ornatus
Rare fall vagrant but recently found almost annually in lark flocks during late fall in Salinas Valley east of Gonzales; has wintered there
photo © Don Roberson
12 Feb 2005
east of Gonzales
Snow Bunting
Plectrophenax nivalis
Very rare late autumn vagrant; two records (Oct-Nov)
photo © Don Roberson
27 Oct 1985 Pt. Lobos

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 24-28 Feb 2004