It’s unusual to see Surf Scoters very near a quiet shore. They’re at home in heavy surf, where they expertly duck under the white crest of an advancing breaker and resurface on the other side, sometimes with an edible in their strange-looking beak. But here they were in the placid North Basin, in easy reach of a lens. Photographer Sam Zuckerman spotted this male (above) cruising along at a good speed. I saw this female paddling gently all by herself, within twenty feet of the eastern shore of the park, and oblivious to the human traffic above. It’s great to see scoters making a comeback, after the terrible toll they suffered in the 2007 Cosco Busan disaster.