Friday, 22 April 2011

Crab catcher- Greenback

As with the sequence bellow, I crawled on my belly along the shore to get myself into a good position where most importantly the Otter would not be disturbed by realising my presence. Getting into such close proximity is not always possible when photographing Otters and it should never be attempted unless you are confident the animal will not be aware of you. If you think there is a risk of disturbing an Otter by trying to aproch it, there probably is, be fare and put them first and not your pottential images!
After this large Greenback was consumed and foraging had once again commenced, I waited untill he was far enough off shore before retreating to carry on my circuit of the site. Over an hour later on my return he was still catching crabs in the same area.
Interestingly the second cub and mother were no where to be seen. This is not unusual though as at this age cubs, especially males can spend quite some time foraging by them selves. I hope that next time I visit the site I find them all together again...

Crab catcher- Velvet

A magical encounter with this cub (about eight to nine months old) yesterday evening. Throughout the hour and a half of the encounter several crabs were caught, both velvets and greenbacks. The tide was well out and I stayed well back till I had an opertunity to stalk into a good photographic position whilst making sure I remained unseen, in my Stealth Gear of course!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Shetlands coastal 'Kelp jungle'

Spent quite some time following two cubs foraging through the kelp bed jungles, these are some of the biggest tides of the year. Although an ebbing or flowing tides are usually when Otters are most active, tides these extreme can make life slightly harder for foraging Otters that tend to prefer foraging at the bottoms or around the outsides of submerged Kelp beds. The collapsed Kelp makes life that little bit harder.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Mother, three cubs and the eel robber!

Enjoyed a wonderful encounter with a mother and her three cubs. When we found them (on a peninsula which I know well to be her favourite foraging ranges)they were well the way through the consumption of what looked to me to be a Conger eel. There was bits of chewed up fish matter smeared and scattered all over various areas of the exposed bed of bladder wrack seaweed, which was exposed by the ebb. Almost like piecing together a crime scene, I could well imagine and visualise each cub trying to take there turn at their share of the under water creature as they chased each other around and we could see that this was far from over!

The mother then arrived back onto the shore with a smaller catch which she released to the siblings and left them to squabble taking up another turn of her own on the eel. But a dog, a full grown adult (who I see regularly and am pretty sure is the father to the three), appeared on the scene. I had been watching him foraging some distance away and was not at all surprised to see him try to muscle in, but she was having none of it and saw him off. Not well enough though as his second attempt to rob her of her hard earned catch immediately fell into fight with one pulling against the other but this time his power won the day and off he scurried!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday, 14 January 2011

Mother and three cubs

An encounter today that simply could not have been better! Spent a couple of hours with a mother and three cubs at a site I have not visited for over three months, wonderful to see them doing so well!
The wind was quite strong and on-shore which was ideal- scent blown well away from the direction of the Otters and also the noise of the wild sea on the rocks easily drowning out any noise from the shutter.
I moved into a position whilst they foraged off-shore, well back from where I expected them to land. later during the encounter they worked closer each time they came to shore until at one point two cubs were on one side and the third at my other whilst it devoured an Octopus, a marvelous sight! On more than one occasion they were practically 'nose to lens', too close to focus with my 200 2.8 that I was using!!
Astonishingly one of the cubs actually walked across the backs of my outstretched legs as I lay flat out on my front on the bladder wrack seaweed between boulders, hood up, gloves on, all but invisible to a very poorly sited Otter at any distance.
The Octopus consumption was indeed rather amusing, the cub was not at all impressed with the writhing sucker stretching extremities but once it got the right approach made light work of it. Its amazing just how many species they learn to cope with both on-shore and indeed in the water.