Sunday, 23 January 2011

White Nun (Mergellus albellus).

Every winter one of the smallest sawbills, the Smew (Mergellus albellus) migrates southwards from its northern boreal breeding grounds in Finland, Sweden and Russia. Small numbers can usually be found at regular overwintering sites from December until March throughout the southern counties of the UK. 

The drake is predominantly white with black markings giving an appearance of 'cracked ice'.

The females are also known as ' Redheads'  for obvious reasons.
As this species is, in my experience, always very shy and restless, these  images were taken during a visit to the wildfowl collection at Barnes WWT.     FAB.

Click here to link to WORLD BIRD WEDNESDAY

36 comments:

  1. Hi Frank...my goodness what beauties ..the male looks like a rippled vanilla ice cream!!
    Wonderful photo's!!

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous. I love the drake and the female. They are stunningly beautiful. Hope you're staying warm over there Frank. Carol

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  3. I love the "cracked Ice" markings of the Drakes! Interesting birds, and very nice photos.

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  4. Always a beauty, no matter where taken Frank.
    I've only seen the female this winter though.

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  5. These are stunning little creatures. Wonderful images!

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  6. They are beautiful birds, the male is so striking!

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  7. Oh-my-goodness, what a beautiful duck!! Wish we had them here!! And, as usual, you've taken some fabulous pictures!! ~karen

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  8. Now that is a stunning bird! Love the "cracked ice" comparison... So true.

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  9. Brilliant shots of a lovely bird. Showing my age here Frank but for some reason it brought to mind the old song, 'Two Lovely Black Eyes'.

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  10. Love the Smew images very satisfying.

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  11. Hi Grammie. Almost good enough to eat ... lol.

    Hi Carol. Yes, the male stands out in a crowd. Trying to stay dry more than warm at the moment.

    Yes they are Wilma.

    Thanks Mona.

    Hi Keith. I read that the females often migrate further south than the males ... probably want peace and quiet!

    Thanks very much Steve.

    Hi Jan. The male is definitely a star winter sighting.

    Hi Karen. Thanks. I'm sure you have many other delights to keep you enthralled.

    Hi Jen. Yes, excellent camouflage when everthing is frozen.

    Cheers John. Now that is a golden oldie ... by Charles Coburn in 1886 if my research is correct.

    Thanks Anthony.

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  12. So very fascinating, this wonderful Smew...I certainly did never see one before...! Such an exclusiveblack and white pattern; just gorgeous and the female with its red head a real beauty!!

    You took fantastic shots of them,Frank, magnificient!!!!

    ciao ciao elvira

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  13. Wow, what a beautiful species. I have never seen one. You got some gorgeous photos. The male is stunning and what a redhead! I love the pattern on the male.

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  14. Thank you Elvira. It was a fun session to capture this species with its unique colouring and patterns.

    Hi Kathie. Delighted to show you something new for a change.

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  15. Wow, that drake is really a beaut! I hate to say, I'd not even heard of Smews before seeing your post. You got some fantastic images of them both, though.

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  16. The Smew is a lovely bird to see. Many thanks for sharing.

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  17. What a breath taking bird!! Ive never seen one of these in captivity or in the wilds so Im very happy to see this Post!! Stunning photos!

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  18. Beautiful markings on those birds. I like the description of "cracked ice"!

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  19. It's not unusual for me to see a new bird on the blogs but your "cracked ice" Smew is really something special. Thank you for sharing your beautiful images!

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  20. Thanks Kyle. Delighted to oblige with something new for you.

    theconstantwalker. Cheers Andrew.

    Thanks Dixxe. I agree the male is definitely a stunner.

    Hi mick. Glad you liked the description.

    Cheers Springman. I don't get to see very many so any sighting of the 'White Nun' is always special.

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  21. Just an outstanding looking bird!! Great photos. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  22. Very good photos of a nice bird!
    Regards,

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  23. Thanks very much Gary.

    Thanks Modesto. Nice to hear from you.

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  24. What a gorgeous duck, and awesome pictures.
    B.

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  25. These are wonderful with their very unique markings. The male reminded me more of a panda on the water.

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  26. Beautiful birds love the male.

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  27. These are fantastic images Frank.

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  28. Sally in WA. A Panda with two black eyes ... I see the similarity ..lol.

    Thanks Neil.

    Roy. I appreciate the compliment.

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  29. Becky and Gary. Thanks for dropping by. Appreciate the visit.

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  30. Now those are beautiful photos! I've never seen that bird before--so pretty!

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  31. These are just stunning and not a bird I am familiar with AT ALL which is new. Terrific images and a real treat for me! Thank you Frank

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  32. Beautiful smews - have seen them only in zoos. Yours look like decorated pieces of porcelain. Nice pictures, Frank!

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  33. EmptyNester. Glad you liked them.

    Hi Robin. Delighted to share a species that would definitely be a rarity in your part of the world.

    Hi Hilke. Decorated porcelain ... I like that analogy.

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  34. Oh wow, thank you for posting this. What an extraordinary-looking bird. Now I have to take a trip to Europe.

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  35. Hi Vanessa. A warm welcome the "Early Birder" blogroll. Just remember you'll have to visit in winter to see this very smart species in the wild. FAB.

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