Tuesday, 24 March 2009

24th March

Came across this youngster today, dozing out of the lea of the wind.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

21st March

Went back to visit the young cubs today. Left the boat at opposite side of the isle so as to make a silent approach. From the top of the hill where I cross the isle I scan with my scope, the tide is ebbing, I just catch a glimpse of the mother as she slips into the water and heads out to feed. I watch for a few minutes till she is some distance away, diving on her favourite reefs.
I keep an eye on the wind and keep low and out of view from the cubs, who I hope will be in the usual place close to the shore. When I reach the old drystone wall of the old sheep pen, I pear through the gap as I have done so many times before and there they are, seemingly a little livelier than last time I think to myself as I watch them play on the bank.
They stay very close to a hollow on the grassy bank, the same hollow that many an otter has made a bed of before. I watch them for about a half an hour, playful but not yet as mischievous as they soon will be. The overcast day Id been thinking was not too bad soon turns into retched rain, the wind starts to rise as I think to myself its time for home.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday 13th March

Friday the 13th- unlucky for some they say, I never was one for superstition though! Ignoring the date I set out by boat to one of my favourite sites, an off shore island. On my way there I couldn't help hoping that by now a female there which I have been watching may well have her cubs out and about by now.
One of the most precious and privileged of all wildlife watching experiences has to be watching an animal as wild and secretive as an otter with infant cubs, out exploring and possibly for the very first time.
These adorable cubs can only be two months old at most, and had very probably been taken by the mother from the natal den to a coastal holt this very day if not long before. It was low tide and I could see the mother off foraging amongst the exposed seaweed not too far along the shore while the cubs, waited on the shore where they would every so often disappear under a large boulder or overhanging earthy bank but never wadling further than a meter or two. From behind an old drystone walled Sheep pen I could watch them through a gap in the wall, totally out of site.

It was obvious by their size alone how young they were bu also how clumsy they were, not yet learned the grace which they will soon use to search these shores. I could see at least two but suspect there was another but could not see the other side bellow the bank and would not have dared moving or changing my approach for a better view. I learned a long time ago that this usually results in them detecting you, if you cant quite get the view or composition you would like then never worry, perhaps next time you will- patience not pesisitance I think is best.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

22nd February

Been a hectic couple of weeks, moved house amongst other things, hence the lack of up dates.

Although over the passed couple of weeks or so I have had a few "chance' otter encounters, frustratingly I have not been to visit any of my favourite families. However on my way to a family meal (running late too), I took a detour to have a quick scan of a familiar stretch of coastline, just for a cheeky ten minutes before the ferry left, I timed it just right!

Whilst I was pulling off the road into a lay by, I caught a glimpse of that oh so familiar bounding gate of an otter foraging around amongst a myre close to the shore. It was about 100 yds away but instantly struck me as being small, as I focused my bins I could see why, it was a cub.

I was parked close to the shore so thought if it came towards me, it should pass close to the van. I couldn't believe my luck, it made its way along the shore- heading straight for me. A very brief glance at my watch reminded me I had less than ten minutes! Thankfully, as always the camera was ready for action.

I began taking a sequence of pictures as it bounded toward my parked van, closer and closer.... The cub then came through the fence, continually sniffing the ground as it went, right bellow my drivers side window! It then ended up so close, that I stopped shooting as I knew it would hear the shutter go off, I watched in awe as it actually lifted its head up toward the open window, nearly going onto its hind legs before slipping underneath the van and where I sat, off out the other side!

One of those opportunistic and exhilarating encounters, the right place the right time! I did not have time to watch and see if the cub 'mothered up' but Id be pretty sure she was not too far away and that it was just on a little adventure of its own.