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Male Smew Arrives In The Mother Lode

Soulsbyville, CA — A bulletin for all duck lovers; a rare male smew has been discovered in the Willow Springs fishing pond.

The smew (Mergellus Albellus) breeds from northern Scandinavia east through northern and central Russia and northern Siberia. There are no breeding records of the smew in North America. Smews prefer forested wetland systems where they nest in tree cavities or nest boxes and lay an average of six to nine eggs.

The majority of smews can be found wintering on lakes, rivers and estuaries in the northern Mediterranean region, Persian Gulf, northern India, Korea, eastern China and Japan. The smew is an annual visitor to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska and a very rare visitor elsewhere on the west and east coasts of North America.

The Willow Springs smew is a male having a white crested head with a black face and V-shaped black patch beneath the crest. The average length is 15-17 inches and the average weight of the male is 1.63 pounds.

According to Jim Sagala of the Willow Springs Homeowners Association, 62 smew watchers were on hand Wednesday with a large crowd expected over the weekend.

Written by Bill Johnson