Saturday, 14 February 2015

Unexpected otters on the Wensum

The last few weeks have been very busy, so much so that we haven't made it out on many nature walks. However, we have still managed a couple of walks around our local patch to quench our thirst to be outdoors.

Our most recent walk here was more exciting than most. We always walk to a clearing that allows us to stand on the bank of the River Wensum. Occasionally we see kingfishers patrolling their territory, other times we try to spot birds in the surrounding trees. This time, we saw ripples in the water, almost with a small wake behind whatever creature was making them. So, out of curiosity, we stopped and waited, standing perfectly still at the edge. It was dusk, so the visibility and light levels were far from perfect, and I wasn't (for once) carrying my camera either. As we watched, it became apparent that our mystery ripples were in fact two otters! They swam towards us, arching out of the water and diving under. They were hunting. One caught a fish and pulled it up onto the bank opposite where we were standing and proceeded to audibly munch its way through it. The other, having had less luck so far, continued hunting. We watched the bubble trail from his dive come closer and closer, until he popped his up no more than two metres from us. It was at this point he noticed us, and quickly dived back under and retreated to a safe distance among the reeds on our side of the bank, seeming to scent the air in our direction to figure out what we were.

We left them alone at this point, not wishing to disturb them further, and wanting to be on our way before darkness truly fell. A very exciting sighting though, and we have some evidence via a video taken on my husband's phone: Otters on the Wensum.

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