Thursday, 5 December 2013

First Smew of the Winter

22nd November 2013

It is that time of the year when you can expect Smew to arrive at Amwell and the first this year was a red-head. The term red-head is used to say that the bird isn't an obvious male, but could be either a female or a young bird of either sex. Normally, Smew keep their distance and are therefore very difficult to photograph, but today the bird was hugging the southern bank west of the Gladwin Hide. This was still too far for decent shots, but close enough to have a more detailed look at the plumage.

If you look closely you can see some white flecking appearing around the head, indicating that this red-head is in fact a 1st winter male, and if it stays it will be interesting to watch it moult through into its snowy white finery.

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