BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Monday, 11 March 2019

Smew


The Smew at Østensjøvannet first appeared earlier in the week and is on a very small area of ice free water allowing for exceptionally good views for this normally shy species. Apart from the various ducks an geese that have spent the winter there the only other new birds were 4 male Tufted Ducks and a male Goldeneye so it was unexpected that a Smew should also be there. But the Smew is almost certainly one of the birds that was at Østensjøvannet from 3 Nov until 11 Dec (and where there were two from 2-8 Dec) and which only left when the lake became fully iced over. It was then seen on the fjord in February before returning to Østensjøvannet as soon as conditions allowed.

Østensjøvannet is clearly very favourable as during the hour I watched it it caught three fish and was diving under the ice to increase its hunting grounds.

It was associating with a male Goldeneye at times and I assumed it was therefore a female and was thinking they were a hybrid pair but the pictures show it has white feathers in the crown and is therefore a young male Smew. Male Smew take a surprisingly long time to come into adult plumage when compared with others small ducks. This is also confirmed by its realtively large size when seen with the Goldeneye and a Tufted Duck and looking at pictures it seems to be the larger of the two birds that were present in December (which were presumably a 1st winter male and a 1st winter female) and the bird that first arrived in November.

1st winter male Smew (lappfiskand)

here with a fish - one of three it caught during the course of an hour




with a male Goldeneye (kvinand). In this neutral light the white feathers in the crown can be most easily seen



the white crown feathers are also visible here and I think that the raised crown is also a male trait








the white feathers show well here. They were only visible on the left side




here the "sawteeth"  can be seen if one zooms in. Smew are along with Mergansers and Goosanders members of the"sawbill" family

it looks very soft and fluffy!

in the bright sunshine the white feathers in the crown are much less obvious



the crown was suddenly very obvious

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