Updated 5:32 pm, Tuesday, April 15, 2014
An expeditionary force of biologists armed with binoculars landed on Alcatraz Island Tuesday in pursuit of an alien seabird spotted over the past few days mingling with island inhabitants.
The strange invader, known as a northern gannet, was seen on The Rock carrying on as if it belonged, but naturalists knew better.
The sleek white seabird, a native of the Atlantic Ocean, is believed to be the first of its kind ever to visit the Pacific Ocean. Which is why the sightings on The Rock created such a kerfuffle and why National Park Service biologist Tori Seher organized a birder safari Tuesday in search of the elusive beast.
"It was sitting next to some Brandt's cormorants yesterday doing its mating call and trying to take some of their nesting material," said Seher as she desperately scanned the rocks and ruins with a spotting scope. "It could be here. It could just be on one of the cliffs."
Seher described with sadness the bird's forlorn croaking calls that will never be answered.