Can anyone help ID this bird?

Howdy all, I saw this bird on Sunday, but I didn’t get a great view and no picture. :frowning:

I could only see its dorsal (back) side. It was all black with four thin white stripes - two white stripes running straight from the sides of the head to the tail just medial of the wings, and two white stripes that followed the leading edge of the wings (small black space between the actual leading edge and the white stripe) and ran out to the tips. During the 15 seconds or so I could see the bird for, its wings were held rigid as it swooped into the fog.

It was seen about 12-16 miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge, probably 8 miles from shore.

I’ve thought that it might be a murrelet, but the pics I’ve found only appear to show two dorsal white stripes: http://www.cortesisland.com/cgi-bin/tideline/show_sitemap_article.cgi?ID=666

As far as I can tell, none of the North Pacific murres, murrelets, etc, or petrels and shearwaters have the combination of back and wing stripes.

The most likely candidate would be a winter-plumaged Red-necked Phalarope, which are pelagic in migration.

Sadly, not a Phalarope. :frowning: This bird was too large and stocky for a Phalarope - perhaps too large to be a murrelet, even, but I’m not sure. I see Phalaropes about 2-3 times a week this time of year. I also don’t think shearwaters or petrels are the way to go - it didn’t have a particularly large wingspan to length ratio - more like a murre in wingspan than either of those.

I know this probably won’t help, but we’ve had a number of odd birds around - lots of Horned Puffins are around right now despite that they should be north of here. Any kind of odd vagrant that it might have been?

Hopefully --> :slight_smile: