Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Old timer

A real heart warmer today, a long journey but worth the trip! Had an awesome encounter with one of the oldest otter I know, she is at least seven/ eight years old, which is a good old age for a Shetland otter although they can live for double and over that.

After a very long walk there, nearing a headland which i know to be one of her favourite haunts I could hear the anxious and oh so familiar squeaks of a cubs contact call. I had deliberately planned my approach for a favourable wind direction. At first I could hear the cub but not lay my eyes on it but soon realised it was well up on the grassy bank, well away from the boulders of the beach. I very slowly moved toward the peaty bank above the beach where from I knew would be able to make a secret approach, at times like these ( and every time is as exhilarating as my first ever encounter) you fail to realise your knees, elbows and often everything is soaked through, but you dont care!

Soon after I began to crawl on my belly bellow the bank I caught site of an adult swimming for thew shore, seemingly to answer the cubs calls, but to my surprise it was a dog. He headed straight up to the young cub but after a quick sniff surely realised the cub had nothing to offer and left as quickly as he'd arrived. Barely minutes later the seeks were answered, surely this would be mother... She left the water only but a few meters from where I lay, clad head to toe in cammo, even balla clav and gloves(nothing compares to this for close encounters)!

I was absolutely thrilled, I new her instantly as a very old girl indeed, a Granny, Great/Great Great Granny at least! Her scars on her nose are immediate recognisable even at distance.

It was one of my favourite encounters of the year and that's saying something! I even photographed the cub suckling. After watching for quite some time totally unaware that I lay only but a few meters away, they sprainted and set off inland up an old stream, I let them leave before slipping away unseen.