Thursday, March 10, 2011

Otter Search Goes On

Otters are nocturnal and so I left my camera at the site to see if I could capture this otter on film. My camera is set to go off whenever it detects movement and when I checked it after the first few days I found these pictures. A moorhen drifting past.
A little grebe.
And some pigeons. Disappointed, I scouted for more clues to confirm I had been right about this being an otter's territory - although I was pretty sure after spotting the spraints. Sure enough I found some otter tracks in the soft mud along the river bank. The 10p piece shows the scale of the tracks.
Interestingly, not too far away from the otter prints I also spotted some mink tracks, pictured below.
It is not good news to find mink. These non-native species are ruthless killers and to find one along a riverbank spells destruction for so much of our native wildlife, especially water vole which have suffered considerable decline since the arrival of mink in the UK.
Determined to root out the otter, I threw a rabbit that I had found on the side of the road onto the log in the hope that this would flush it out. Although otters mainly eat fish, they will go for small mammals and birds as well.
But when I checked the camera later, it was the mink that was tucking into the rabbit. After several days of waiting for the otter to appear I was beginning to give up when my camera captured this image one night.
It was an otter's backside! Ah well, I shall have to be patient. Otters are so shy its going to be a matter of just sitting tight and waiting for a picture that I can use to paint from.

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