Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Smew Portrait


Robin Gossage has kindly forwarded some images of three Smew at Pitsford Reservoir today (of four present). 

Pitsford is a regular winter venue for this striking 'sawbill' duck but regular birds are currently being reported at nearby Ravensthorpe Reservoir and Stanwick Lakes with a single bird at Stortons GP and a few being seen at Sywell Country Park too.

Relatively small numbers of Smew winter in the UK and Northamptonshire is an important area with both Pitsford and Ravensthorpe being ranked as nationally important for this scarce species.

Adult drakes sport the white elongated crest and are effectively known as 'white nuns' with their plumage combination and patterns of white, black and silver. The females and young males are known as 'redheads' and they display a rich chestnut crown and nape which dulls and is replaced in males as they moult in to nuptial plumage. 

Smew do not breed in the UK, probably the closest breeding area being Belarus, and occupy similar breeding habitat as the Goldeneye.


Neil M

Smew at Pitsford Reservoir
Courtesy of Robin Gossage.

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