Sunday, 16 January 2011

Delightful Smew At Lochside Pond

Smews... I love them! With a report of a redhead (female) Smew at Lochside Pond at Bridge of Don on the outskirts of Aberdeen yesterday evening, I couldn't resist the temptation of going down to see it this morning. Lochside Pond was only 10-15 minutes drive from the house, so it wasn't long before I was down there. Within seconds of arriving I was on the Smew and had ticked it for the year. This was the second redhead Smew that I had seen within a three week period, with one at Ashford Reservoirs in Somerset on the 31st December. In comparison to the bird at Ashford, this Smew was far more obliging, giving consistently great views at reasonably close proximity, the most distant views of it probably being at about 65ft. There weren't many other ducks on the pond, just a group of Mallards and a few Tufted Ducks, and it seemed to spend quite a lot of its time swimming alongside the Tufties. It was a truly delightful little thing, miniscule yet wonderfully elegant and dainty. Furthermore the light was fantastic, picking out it's beautiful features superbly. The fact that the light was brilliant meant that I spent a majority of my time trying to get photos of it, and I am very pleased with the results. Patience meant that I managed to get within 10-15ft of it, and I seized the opportunity of getting some good shots at this point. Below are some of the shots I took when it was at its closest...

Smew, Lochside Pond, Bridge of Don (16/1/11)

10-15ft was about as close as I was able to get to the Smew, but this didn't stop me from trying to get some more good photos of it. Below are the best of the other shots that I managed of it. Being able to get photos of such an exquisite species was immensly satisfying, and I felt very privileged to have seen a bird like this so locally. If you want to see bigger versions of these shots, please visit my flickr, which is linked at the bottom of the sidebar on this blog...

With the Tufted Ducks...

I was only there for about an hour as I had other plans for the day, so I went home delighted to have caught up with Smew for the year and to have got some good quality photographs of it. Whilst I was at Lochside Pond I also picked up Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Greenfinch for the year, which means the year list is now on 57 species . This, of course, is a petty total, but next weekend I am hoping to reach within the region of 100 species as I will be going out for my first full day's birding of the year then.

Thanks for reading,

Joseph

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