The duck was spotted a few weeks ago on a pond in Tuolumne County. John Sterling – president of the Central Valley Bird Club – says it’s only the third smew ever recorded in California.
"For this bird to show up in the foothills was very unexpected and certainly one of the rare birds ever found in the Sierra Nevada. It’s a beautiful, beautiful bird. It’s mostly white with some black lines on it and it’s a very, very distinctive duck."
In early spring, the smew depart from Europe and central Asia and head to Siberia and Alaska. Sterling speculates that this smew took a wrong turn. It’ll probably stay in the area until March or April.