The Tropical Audubon field trip to Marco Island turned up 2 interesting
sparrows among the 100+ species seen today.

The sparrows were in the grass/sea purslane area next to the area marked
off for the plovers.

One was a Seaside Sparrow.  Since there was no trace of olive on the head,
and since the underparts were fairly dark, it was not mirabilis (Cape
Sable Sparrow).  My previous Seaside Sparrow experience is limited to the
mirabilis, but after reviewing both Rising/Beadle and Byers/Curson/Olsson,
it seems most likely that it was either peninsulae or junicola (the races
on the W coast of Florida).  This is based on whitish underparts (no
buff), and fairly distinct dark streaking.  We believe this to be the
first report of any Seaside Sparrow in Collier County other than mirabilis
(and first report away from the former mirabilis breeding grounds in

Before we got a good look at it, we assumed the Seaside Sparrow would turn
out to be a Sharp-tailed Sparrow.  So what should pop up next but a
Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow!  Evidently, no Sharp-tailed Sparrows of any
kind have been reported in Fall from Collier, and this may be the first
report of Nelson's from Collier.  I'm not sure about the race, mostly
because I wasn't sure what to look for.

Both birds were seen by myself, Paul Bithorn, Bruce Purdy, Brian Rapoza,
Jill Rosenfield, and several others.

Savannah Sparrow was also present in the area.

John H. Boyd III                               [log in to unmask]
Dept. of Economics                             Phone: 305-348-3287
Florida International University               Fax: 305-348-1524
Miami, FL 33199