For years Long tailed Ducks have gathered in the spring at Loch Branahuie to the east of Stornoway. The narrows between Point and mainland Lewis have formed a linking strip of sandy soiled machair with an exposed loch easily viewable from the main road lay-bys. The birds stay to moult and build up to mid May. Occasionally birds even oversummer. 246 were there on Thursday and another 100 or so may appear before the end of the month and the yodelling call resounds on a calm day.
On a personal note Long tailed Duck is clearly an apt name – but I do really like the alternate name Oldsquaw. A quick look at Wikipedia however says-
‘In North American English it is sometimes called Oldsquaw, though this name has fallen out of favour under influence of negative connotations of the word squaw in English usage. Some biologists have also feared that this name would be offensive to some Native American tribes involved in the conservation effort. The American Ornithologists’ Union (2000) stated that “political correctness” was not sufficient to change the name, but “to conform with English usage in other parts of the world”, it officially adopted the name Long-tailed Duck.’
Do they gather on a freshwater loch anywhere else in the UK like this? I cant think of anywhere. Enjoy the unique spectacle.