PAAU disappearing act

Richard Bradus

Hi all

Beautiful late morning along the coast. Lots of cormorants, pelicans and the like on the move, plus some breeding gulls and others. The Parakeet Auklet continues around the Hermit Rock area. I first spotted it ~11:30am (from the beach/rocky shore) atop a small mussel-encrusted rock quite near the shore below the overlook area. It then flew into the water and somehow bobbed around in and through some pretty rough surf. Sometimes it seemed to ride the waves and other times did the sensible thing and dove underneath the breakers. Plucky and tough little bird! I got a couple of photos that I will upload to an eBird checklist eventually.

After a few more minutes it flew behind Hermit Rock and I lost it, but then Lee Hong Chang spotted it (he raised the possibility of a second PAAU ?!) near the top of the little brown rock just to the west of Hermit Rock, where it was almost perfectly camouflaged against the rocky surface - with its back toward us, if it did not turn its head we would never be able to see it! Amazing disappearing act.

So, if you go out to spot this returning marvel and are about to give up, make sure to take a good look at the much smaller brown rock just to the west of hermit Rock and be patient (and you may still need a scope to be sure).

Good luck!