Last year I went to go see the Smew at Pugneys and recorded it as a lifer for around 1 min. Given that, and the fact that it would be a yeartick, and (Most importantly) its one of the most dapper and suarve birds on the British list, I decided to head over to Pugneys today to try and find it, and appreciate it with a bit of time unlike last time.
Not going to lie, it is a real pain to locate. After about 2 hours walking up and down the same 500 meter stretch of river I decided to try something new and go upstream of Pugneys, where I have never been. I did this for the first 200 meters the path did not follow the river. When it did join the river I found a small flock of Goldeneye. And then, into the scene but who should drift, the star of the show himself. I grabbed some shots to make up for last time before settling on him with my scope. I got fantastic views for about 5 mins before, for no reason, he took off upstream and I failed to relocate him again. Its obviously a very flighty bird. So here are the record shots of one of the finest birds on the British list.
Whilst hunting Smew I got plenty of other nice things. Most notably was a Kingfisher that flew right past me, my first of the year and close enough to actually make out features as opposed to a blue blur. Wildfowl was plenty, mainly Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and Mallard but a couple of Goosander too as well as at least 3 Little Grebe.
Post seeing the smew I added Pink-Footed Goose to the day-list when a skein of around 200 went overhead. I heard them first but struggled to pick them up, though they then went right over my head, allowing me some good views. The only other significant thing was my first butterfly of the year, when a peacock came and landed near me whilst I was watching the Smew.
So that was the mornings work, one of the best birds in Britain and only my second time ever seeing one. What a glorious morning. I decided to head over to Anglers CP for the afternoon to finally go to the gull roost and see what that was all about.
Pugneys CP: Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Wren, Robin, Jay, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Mallard, Goldeneye, Teal, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Woodpigeon, Black-Headed Gull, Carrion Crow, Kingfisher, Feral Pigeon, Common Gull, Moorhen, Coot, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-Tailed Tit, Great Crested Grebe, Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Kestrel, Canada Goose, Smew, Pink-Footed Goose, Goldfinch, Magpie, Reed Bunting, Peacock Butterfly