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Friday, December 5, 2014

Otter Surprise!

Apparently Otters are now present on the water courses of every county in the UK and back to something like their historic numbers before river pollution and agricultural pesticides in the post war years nearly wiped them out. Now, thanks to steady and sustained improvements in water quality and the use of less harmful pesticides over the past couple of decades, the chances of coming across these charming and iconic creatures on our waterways have vastly improved.

On the Western coasts of Scotland they have adapted to become semi marine and are relatively easy to see on the rocky beaches and secluded inlets up there, but in the rest of the UK, although more numerous, they remain elusive and its a real treat when you come across one. Well was I treated a couple of mornings ago or what! On my local patch here at Fangfoss Park on the Spittal Beck I'd just grabbed a new bird for the site, a Kingfisher darting down the beck, and then some dark shapes in the water caught my eye. For the next 20 minutes I was utterly transfixed, treated and smiled upon by the photographic gods as 2 Otters (cubs I think) played around on the beckside and swam in the water directly in front of me!

Less nattering from me, here's the pics more or less in sequence. My only slight regret is that I didn't get more of the 2 of them together but hey I won't see these delightful animals again at such close quarters for a very long time, so I have to be very satisfied with these images.

I'd welcome any suggestions about age/ sex but I'm guessing that these are relatively young cubs exploring. They're sighted often on both the Pocklington Canal and the River Derwent both of which this beck connects to in a roundabout sort of way, so maybe they've come upstream looking for potential breeding grounds?

Been down several times since in the hope of catching them again and every time the beck is 'utterly Otterless' and I tell myself  'wow you were lucky there Timbo!' .... right time, right place and I don't expect to see them again any time soon!

Want some great places to see Otters? Locally Tophill Low, Wheldrake Ings, Staveley and the aforementioned Pocklington Canal are all worth watching as well as these national sites - Great places to see Otters


  1. Timbo, I'm speechless. Absolutely awesome. Jim

  2. Cheers Jim, so was I ... hardly dared breathe let alone speak!!