Winter wildfowl, or some superb breeding waders
When visiting Benbecula (joined by road to North and South Uists), you will be amazed by the sheer amount of fresh water all around. Some are very acid lochs, while others have a rich pasture and a much better ph, allowing for more species of invertebrate to survive, offering food for others. Loch Mor and Fada fit this bill and are not to be missed. One of the main reasons for this is the breeding Rednecked Phalaropes (plan for next spring!). I watched them from the road, so there is no need to enter any field as nesting birds can nest well away from the main water and, of course, are specially protected by law. There is an impressive selection of other breeding waders here, including Redshank, Lapwing, Snipe, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover. Blacktailed Godwits drop in on spring migration, as well as autumn, and may well breed in the future. Whimbrel can also be seen on passage around the lochs. With the sea so close, it is easy to see waders drop over the dunes for the fresh water, with American waders, like Lesser Yellowlegs, and Buff-breasted and Pectoral Sandpipers being recorded. Ducks such as Wigeon, Teal and Mallard breed here with Garganey often a summer visitor. Both Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Duck have also dropped in. Winter sees feeding geese, like Barnacle, Greenland Whitefront and Greylags with oddments such as European White-front and tundra Bean also found. A Snowy Owl and Ivory Gull were unlikely past visitors but an Iceland Gull is more likely. A single Crane has stayed in the area, while Black and Whiskered Tern, Great White and Little Egret pass through. Look out for Hen Harrier in the nearby fields, along with hunting Merlin and Shorteared Owl. The sea has divers nearly all year.