As usual, Robb and I were out cycling on the San Francisco Bay Trail today, and usual, I was asking the people with binoculars of they had seen any interesting birds. A nice older couple gave us the heads-up that some kind of alcid was bobbing around in the water. I follow the online discussions of birders in the East Bay, so I know that these birds had been seen in this area for the past week or so. The problem is that they seemed to be ill or stressed.
While Robb and I do spot the occasional murre, floating around in the surf, these birds typically spend their time out at sea, diving after fish, and "swimming" underwater using their wings as flippers. We are always surprised to see a murre.
This fellow was swimming right off the trail. I went down to the waters edge to shoot a few photos, and after a few minutes he swam right up to me, and started to "haul out" of the water. While is was delightful to be so close to a wild bird, I knew that I needed to give this bird his space, so I headed back to the path, where Robb was chatting with a gentleman who had also been a bird rehab volunteer after the big oil spill in the San Francisco Bay.
I'm going to alert the bird rehab folks about this wee penguin of a bird. It worries me that he's so close to humans.