Re visited one of my favourite sites yesterday evening, a real wilderness. An endless stretch of remote and flat coastline where you are extremely unlikely to meet another soul, only otters! We arrived at the site with only a few hours of day light remaining, but the evening spring low sun light was truly fantastic. On our way out to the site, myself and good friend David Gifford, were treated to several Mountain hare, mid way between their winter and summer coats.
From some distance up on the hill side I spotted a family foraging in the ebe. The low evening sunlight was perfect as was the wind direction so we set off for the shore. Nearing the waters edge we still had good time to read the situation and suss out our most suitable location, most importantly a spot where we would not be seen by the family.
There was a clear choice for me of where the family would probably choose to haul out, (who were now moving towards us) , all three of their low profiled bodies on the beautiful mirror calm surface, each opening up the still water with their own wakes.
We stealthily moved into position, in good time too. My prediction was spot on, minutes later they were closing in, incredibly though, they had been joined by a fourth animal, a dog probably even their father. His head and especially muzle being much broader than that of the mothers. He swam along closely, interacting with out any distress from the mother before splitting off but by then, with the family moving in close and hauling out exactly where I thought they would, the adrenalin was pumping too fast to see where he went!
The mother left the cubs (which I reckoned to be about 5 or 6 months old) on the shore only a few meters from us and went out to forage, leaving the cubs to groom one and other and play on the rocks in the stunning evening sun light. After a while the cubs swam out to her then all returned to the same rocky outcrop then moved on along the shore- a perfect encounter!
By the time we finished up back at the car, only three hours later we had seen 8 animals, it is little wonder this is one of my top sites! David labeled the evening 'his best ever otter encounter!!'