Wednesday, February 07, 2024

This is the Smews...

What is it with Smews? Or Smew?

Over the years Ive seen plenty of them, harking back 30 years we would get up to 9 on Druridge Bay Country Park that sometimes included one or two males as well as the commoner red headed females. In recent years, as most of my birding time is not near large bodies of fresh water, they have become decidedly scarce for me. I cant even remember the last male I've seen but it might have been the one a lot of years ago on the River Coquet above the Warkworth Wier one fine New Years Day.

This year there seems to be more Smew around so I thought I might try and see a drake if one was available near by.

Getting back to my question, what is it with Smews? They are certainly proving elusive for me this year. When we were in Fife a couple of weeks ago, a drake was wintering on a reservoir not far from us, but not on the day we went. Back home, a redhead has been showing quite well on the QE2 Lake near Ashington. I drive past the car park every day I am in the office, technically I might have been able to see the bird from the car as I went past but didnt, so last week I called in on two mornings.  Not a sniff, so when a drake was reported as showing well at East Chevington the other day, it was an offer I couldn't refuse, after all this is a big water body that holds a lot of wildfowl, why would it move on?

Yesterday I parked at the south end of Hadston T junction road and walked in to Chev from the North. At the centrally positioned L shaped hide I met Mark Eaton with Sam and Rosie ( golden retrievers). Mark had been here a while and yes you guessed it, the white nun had done a bunk!

I gave it half an hour to scan around. Of note were 2 Otters, 4 Red breasted Mergansers and a dozen or more Goldeneye with a Cetti's Warbler singing in the background.

On my walk back to the car, I did a short detour into DBCP for a scan in case it had flown on to this traditional site for them, but it wasn't there. A few more Red breasted Mergansers, Tufted Ducks and Gadwall were all I could see with a Willow Tit calling away in the car park.

I hear the redhead is still on QE2, so might have a look on my way to work on Friday. See if I can make it 5 unsuccessful attempts in a month... 


Above -Successful Smews from the past...

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