Monday, August 23, 2004

Otter or Loch Ness Monster?

This was quite remarkable. I had only called in at Ferry Meadows (near Peterborough) on the way home from work just in case any terns had dropped in during the storms. There were few birds but just over half way across Gunwade Lake I noticed something in the water swimming west. There were a couple of people on the bank and it briefly crossed my mind that their dog was rather a long way out. However it was quickly obvious this was no dog.

As it swam further on I was sure it was an Otter. As it passed the other side of the pedaloes a few Black-headed Gulls started to circle around near it and it stopped for a while raising itself out of the water a bit to fend them off. At no point did it dive under the water.

Then it moved on towards the little bridge and I saw a more familiar bit of Ferry Meadows wildlife approaching: unmistakable through the scope, it was Don Gardener on the far bank cycling home. Surely he would stop and scan the water. It was agonising. I couldn't contact him so just willed him to look and sure enough he soon stopped, lifted his bins and then I watched the look of realisation on his face. Yes! He had it too!

Finally it swam into the vegetation in the bank near the bridge and was gone but it must have taken nearly ten minutes to cross the lake and was watched for a good proportion of that time. It was good to go over the events again with Don in the evening on the phone. We are both absolutely thrilled to bits.

That makes it three Otters I have seen this year after one on the west coast of Scotland and another on the Norfolk Broads!

European Otter (Lutra lutra) - honest!

Digiscoped with the Nikon CP995, Leica APO77 and 32x eyepiece.

1 comment:

Scotty said...

Just stumbled across your weblog. Beautful pictures. Well done!