Queens Award for Voluntary Service


A request from Philip for help in confirming a sighting he had yesterday. Having consulted various books he’s fairly sure that he saw a pair of Smew ducks yesterday opposite his house in the Flora fields. He described the markings in some detail (snow white plumage, with pencil-line markings in Y-shape). They were touching beaks, so he thought they might be a mating pair.

He and his wife have also recently observed:

  • Heron paddling in Alder Pond (24th April) and one flying over ex-Gleesons Field (26th April)
  • 5 lapwings (26th April, Flora)
  • A hare (ex-Gleesons Field, 18th April)

Any help appreciated.


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2 thoughts on “Smew?”

  1. Hi – not really sure what they could have been from the brief description but I can pretty confidently say they were almost certainly not smew.
    This species is at best a scarce visitor and usually only turns up in severe winters. There are no smew currently known to be any where in the UK; the very small number that did arrive during the winter having returned to their northern breeding grounds by now. As a habitat preference they tend toward deep, still lakes and reservoirs, plus occasionally the coast.
    We have had single birds appear at Freeman’s Pools in recent winters but there was no sign of any this year.
    I’d love to know just what Philip did see, as I can’t think of any duck that matches his description! Hopefully the mystery birds will reappear?

    • Thanks Jon – I will pass all this on and try and find out a few more details. Philip was aware Smew were rare, which I guess is why he rang up with such alacrity!

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