Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shetland Otter families on a beautiful late autumn day


A superb encounter today, well actually several. So nice spending time in the great company of Mauro, who more than a client has now become a good friend as is so often the case when spending such special time with such captivating wild animals. The fact that Mauro insists I also take pictures- something I don't do when working on such itineraries, has made it all the more enjoyable. We spent time with three different families today at one site- its the busiest I've seen this site in years.


This particular site is pretty much as good as you can get for photographing otters; long relatively straight shoreline, fairly flat and open terrain with a good sized bank to hide in the shadow of with lovely 'gravelly' stretches of beach where the composition is nice and clean and very few if any boulders that often they can be behind and out of view.

All these images except the last one of two cubs together, are of the same mum and two cubs, which we spent several hours with, often within just a few metres and can sometimes be the case, with them too close to photograph. At one point the trotted up the beach, passing us by about five meters away when all we could do was hide our faces, keep completely still until they continued on along the shore after habitual spraining on a favoured rock high up the beach.

At one point during the encounter the mother landed an eel pout which you can see the dog cub holding in his jaws. Rather typically he spent several minutes 'toying' with the live catch in the shallows after receiving it from mum. This is quite typical behaviour of cubs of this age, playing with prey no doubt helps them hone their hunting skills and seems to be something they really enjoy. Often they will toss it into the air and then dive back onto it as it tries to sprickle away to escape.

We continued along the shore where we spent time with two more families, both mums with two cubs but with the way the wind had slightly altered and also the angle of the coast also changes, wind was not suitable for an approach so we just simply enjoyed an hour of observations and while doing so we had a Rough-legged Buzzard (one that's been around for a couple of weeks) drift over- all in all the perfect day!