Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A ferocious fight

Its been an extremely busy few weeks and so unfortunately there has been precious little time for photographing Otters. Finalising plans for our very busy 2011 season along with rounding off this year of wildlife tours and holidays has unfortunately seen me spending far too much time in doors and of course I have my own little cub to spend time with, our son Casey is a joy that is now just about the only thing that can keep me from the ebe and the tracks of the wild Otter!

Although I have of course been seeing Otters recently, bloggable content and images have just not been possible (see above!). But this was an amazing encounter today involving a resident mother and a dog who I had not seen in the range for some time and I suspect that's exactly why she gave him the send off she did!

I had picked up the dog who was clearly on a mission, following the shoreline and only landing onshore to spraint and sniff out signals as he went. Up ahead though I picked up a second individual coming from the opposite direction. I knew from experience of the area they were both heading for the same 'sprainting junction' which is a small promontory where Otters use both as a lie up and especially as an 'information station'.

Sure enough they were nearing the exact spot, luckily I was keeping up and arrived almost simultaneously to them. I literally had no time to check histograms or check shutter speeds...they met as they landed, both seemingly as surprised as the other. The dog had hardly had time to even sniff the air and she was onto him, her loud whickering and wailing seemed to settle as they dipped out of view then up onto the bank she chased him into a ferocious fight which probably lasted only a minute or two.

Their writhing bodies rolled down amongst the boulders where he swiftly retreated and was most certainly sent on his way. I was amazed at the sheer viciousness of the encounter and yet as I watched and they went off back in the direction they had come, it was if nothing had happened, he was sniffing and sprainting on the shore only 40-50 metres away and she carried on to her cubs, which was where I caught up with her ten minutes later further up the shore.

How fascinating it is to wonder what it was all about, it seems most likely to me (but I cant be certain) that he is not the father of this years cubs and so why he was met with such aggression. I have watched him in this range many times and I'm sure they know each other very well, what ever the reasons were her message was loud and clear- he was not going to be tolerated!

It was rather humbling to see her look down from the bank as he scuttled away...

The photographer in me of course wishes I had had a faster shutter speed and better light, but the natural st in me over rides this, it was a rare opportunity to capture such aggression at all.