Friday, January 13, 2006


My local television station startled me this morning during their 'local news' highlights. The screen suddenly filled with oldsquaws, and my ears perked up and I heard the announcer tell me were looking at pictures of "Arctic split-tailed ducks".

Various web searches later, I learned some things I did not know. 'Oldsquaw' is the name we use in North America for an arctic duck called the 'Long-Tailed Duck' in Europe (well in those parts that use English). Not the 'Split-Tailed Duck'. Curiously, though, one of its characteristic features is that the male has a two-feathered split pintail.

So where did CTV get this apparently completely original name? If anyone can help on this, I would appreciate it.

It is my plan in future posts to try to get pictures of the three main waterbird species paddling about down at the lake here. They cause many people great grief in the identification process as they are all a mix of black and white in colour. We now have buffleheads, oldsquaws, and (common) goldeneyes. Winter here is very interesting though the migratory seasons are a bit more exciting.


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