Search this contributor
Heavily cropped photo.
Extreme rarity for San Francisco and seasonal and regional rarity for California. First located and reported from this location earlier in the day by Rudyard Wallen. The PAAU was observed perched and "walking" on the face of Hermit Rock and on top of a smaller rock closer to shore. Also observed in flight, but never on the water. In scope view for most of 1:05-2:25 PM. Last observed flying from the smaller rock towards the "back" (ocean-side) of Hermit Rock and did not reappear. First observed in the entrance of a crevice near the top of Hermit Rock. Was chased by a Black Oystercatcher and Western Gulls on the rock. Was not bothered by the multiple Pigeon Guillemots apparently nesting on the rock. Description: a small, compact alcid, smaller than the nearby Pigeon Guillemots. Tiny rounded head. Black upperparts, though appeared to be showing some brownish feather wear on the coverts. Bright light-colored eye and bright white plume extending back from eye. Small orange bill. Grayish-blue feet (noticed when standing on the rock). Black throat with the black feathering dissipating on the upper breast, with bright white underparts below that. Black rounded wings noticed during short flights. Note that an adult PAAU was photographed and reported by a single observer from very near to this location on July 13, 2016, but not subsequently relocated despite many birders searching for it last year.