On 26 December Jim Robinson photographed an ABA Code-3 Smew (Mergellus albellus), the other merganser, in Whitby Harbor, Whitby, Ontario, Canada. It was seen from the pier parking lot at Whitby Harbor and across from the Whitby marina, most recently by the breakwall. The bird has not yet been aged but it has a “female” plumage.
This species breeds from Sweden east to eastern Siberia. They winter in western and central Europe, eastern Mediterranean Basin, Black Sea, southern Russia, Middle East, eastern China, Korea and Japan. During severe winters some are displaced farther south (Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 1). In the ABA Area, they are migrants in the western Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. In winter, stragglers have been recorded south to California and are accidental on the Niagara River (Ontario-New York), southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and Rhode Island. They are raised in captivity so provenance has been in question for birds in the east (ABA Checklist, Fifth Edition, DeBenedictis et al.).