Another life bird...nice start to 2007!
I received word of a SMEW in Tuolomne County found on Saturday, January 20 and immediately began figuring out where I could fit in a trip down to chase it. The spot would be a 2+ hour drive from home so I would need a good part of the day to get down there and back...Monday was the day!!!
Upon arrival I was able to pick out the Smew immediately with my bare eyes as it was the only small white duck out there. There were many RING-NECKED DUCKS, HOODED MERGANSERS, and MALLARDS on the pond, as well, and a GREAT EGRET stalked fish from the reeds across the water. There were already a few people there including Martin Meyers and David Nelson.
At times, the SMEW would charge into a small group of Hooded Mergansers and display to the females. Puffed out chest and sharp crest was his way of impressing the ladies. A few of us commented that the raised crest that it used to display was weak compared to it's typical disposition.
Chris Conard and Kimya Lambert showed up a little later as did a birder from Louisiana named Webb Smith who just so happened to be working on his Big Year with a short trip to California...right place/right time!