Wow. What a way to end the year! Kathi and I braved the cold on Dec 28th morning to see if we could find the first winter male SMEW found at Whitby Harbour on the 26th. The combination of low temps and bitter north winds off the water made this an extremely uncomfortable experience. Fortunately there were lots of other helpful birders out in search of the same quarry. After some tense moments, a sharp eyed birder from Boston put us on the bird. It was a life bird for both of us, and I managed to snap off a few digi images before the cold drove us back to the van.
First year SMEW are hard to sex, but the presence of large white patches on the flanks, and white flecking on the crown indicate this is a male. This is the third record for Ontario, and one of a handful of national records. It was fortunate that we went for the bird on the 28th, because this was the last day it was seen!