Buff in Rough

The chill northerly gale roughed up the North Basin and gave its population of migrant Bufflehead, scaup, grebes, gulls, and others a rocky morning. They all faced into the wind and many kept on paddling, actually making headway. A few took short flights forward. Some dove into the oncoming crest. Others kept their heads tucked into their wings and seemed to be sleeping through it. These are all water birds, used to whatever the weather throws at them. They could, theoretically, go squat on land until it blows over. But having whitecaps wash over them did not feel like mortal peril to them. Except for the gulls, they all dive for a living, and are as much at home underwater for brief spells as on top.

Bufflehead male (Bucephala albeola) faces oncoming whitecap. Scaup and Bufflehead females (right).

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