Annotated checklist and data resource
text © Don Roberson
photos copyrighted by photographer(s) credited
all photos taken in Monterey County, California
Vermilion Flycatcher   Pyrocephalus rubinus
Vermilion Flycatcher is a rare vagrant in Monterey County; records are split between spring overshoots and fall vagrants. Four of six records (through 2004) have been in mid-October, 3 apparently imm. females and one young male. This latter bird was at Moonglow Dairy, Moss Landing, on 10 Oct 2004 and is shown in the photos right & below (4 shots in total at various angles; © D. Roberson). As is illustrated by this collection, it appeared very much like a female from the back but had varying amounts of red appearing on the belly, breast, and crown. Vermilion Flycatcher is a small phoebe-like flycatcher in its upright posture and expressive tail. This one was on a fenceline with Say's Phoebe and was decidedly smaller.
The other October vagrants have been female-plumaged, and only one was photographed: the two prints (below) were taken in Charles & Dianne DeWeese's backyard in Del Rey Oaks on 13 Oct 1992 (photos © D. Roberson).
One description of this bird reads:
Small upright flycatcher (perhaps Willow Flycatcher size; nothing to compare nearby) with short black bill, dark brownish upperparts, and white underparts, strongly washed with pink on flanks & belly. Throat clean white but breast has fine streaking above pink wash. Head darker than rest of brown upperparts; fairly short expressive tail also darker brown. Tertials edged tan-brown, but no wingbars. Borrowed print film from DeWeeses for photos; q.v. D. Roberson (written 13 Oct 1992).
The remaining records have been of overshooting spring males in late May or June. Doug George found the first modern record along the Big Sur R. on 14 June 1989, perched over the river on cottonwoods between the main parking lot and the campground. This was before the establishment of the Big Sur Ornithology Lab, so this was one of the first major rarities to be found at Big Sur R. mouth. It was successfully chased by several during its one-day stay (photo right © Robert F. Tintle).
Here is a complete list of MTY records of VERMILION FLYCATCHER  Pyrocephalus rubinus:
1 8 Oct 1944 Pt. Lobos Laidlaw Williams imm. female described in Williams' field notes but in this era before vagrancy was understood, he did not report it. It was accepted long after the fact in Roberson (2002).
2 14 June 1989 Big Sur R. mouth Doug George male, probably first-spring male (=AHY); photo above
3 13-18 Oct 1992 Del Rey Oaks Charles & Dianne DeWeese imm. female that frequented their backyard; photos above
4 29 May 1997 Carmel R. mouth Jim Booker, Gerald Phillips first-spring male (i.e., AHY) along shore of Odello Lagoon
5 16 Oct 1998 Big Sur R. mouth Karly Moore, Jim Booker imm. female
6 10 Oct 2004 Moonglow Dairy, Moss Landing Michael Getty first-fall (HY) male; refound by Rick Fournier, photos above
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)
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Page created 16 Oct 2004