me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Cold by the river

I mean, it was, not I have. Bright sunshine but this time of year the sun's so low it doesn't reach the benches in the morning, only after it swings around in the afternoon. Current running north meeting icy wind out of the north, making all kinds of interesting wave patterns and raising big whitecaps. Not much in the way of birds -- I'd have been waiting for the wind to calm down, myself, if I had to fly.

Yesterday, though, I saw two Gadwalls in the piling field being trailed by a male bufflehead. They'd swim to a piling, nibble at the moss, and the bufflehead would follow them over there and then dive for fish. When he popped up he'd look around for them, swim to wherever they'd gone, and dive again. For awhile I couldn't figure out what was going on. Buffleheads -- unlike, say, coots, who hate to be alone and will join up with anything else with feathers if they can't find other coots -- aren't particularly sociable. He couldn't have been just trying to stay with the flock; buffleheads don't care and often fish alone.

Finally they all swam in close enough for me to get it. He was an adolescent, still spotted on his white chest. This is his first trip south. He's most likely part of the flock that lives in Brooklyn, off Red Hook. They roost there, but they spread out to fish, all the way through the harbor and up and down both rivers. Some adult showed him where the Hudson river was, he took off for it yesterday morning, and when he got here alone he wasn't sure what to do. Up where he's from, he probably never saw a duck that doesn't dive for fish. He's used to following the adults around because they know where the fish are. So he's following these Gadwalls; when they stop, he dives. The fact that they eat moss and have no idea where the fish are hasn't registered on him yet. But he'll be fine; he had, in fact, found the fish. Pretty soon he'll start ignoring everyone else, and be like all the other buffleheads.

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