Sunday, 19 December 2010

More Otter encounters

  After going to Westing yesterday (Thurs 16th), I thought we'd take another look today as the kids were off school again (don't get me started on that subject) The wind had dropped off quite a lot, but we were still getting snow showers.

  Pulling up at the turning area at the end of the road, almost immediately I saw an otter on the rocks belows us to our left. Unfortunately it had seen (or heard) the car and was now looking up in our direction. I managed to get the 500 fitted to the camera just before it carried a very large Lumpsucker fish back in to the water. Judging by the markings on its chin, I'm certain it was the same one from yesterday. It started to swim off with its prey, but either it was too heavy or it had eaten enough I don't know, but it reappeared further out without it......................


  The otter then swam off around the coast and disappear in to the breaking waves. We decided to walk out to the end of the bay but as it was so cold Rona (the youngest), said she'd walk to the cottage on the beach and then wait in the car. Sula was also very cold but she insisted on coming with me on the walk which would take around half an hour. Down on the foreshore amongst the rocks and seaweed, a small flock of Golden Plovers foraged for food now that the fields were frozen over. The sea seemed to be only half the swell compared to yesterday but was certainly still a force to be reckoned with..............



  Yesterday (18th Dec) after dropping the kids at their friends house (no school) around 11am, I went down to Westing again. The road down the last short hill at the end had snow drifting across (as there's nobody living down there full time it's not ploughed) which fortunately didn't cause a problem - but could do later in the day. Unfortunately there were no otters around just starlings squabbling over a good feeding spot amongst the seaweed and a solitary rock pipit.............

Rock Pipit
  Shortly after I took this picture, a 'rocket' in the form of a merlin shot through along the beach scattering all the small birds, reaching the far end of the beach it pursued one bird but I didn't see the outcome. Heading back along the road, I came across a couple of rabbits in the snow, one of them of the multi coloured variety (of which there are quite a few here), did it's best to try and be a 'mountain hare' and blend in with its surroundings .........................


  .......and a normal one full frame with the 500..................
  After leaving Westing, I headed up north to Norwick. I really wanted to go over to Lamba Ness and Skaw but the road up over there was far too icy (from my experiences last year I thought I'd give it a miss in this weather) On the road down to the beach at Norwick two Common Snipe, sat in a sort of stand-off with one another until they turned and saw me. One took off and flew away, the other just flitted over the fence in to the adjoining field. It was still watching me, hence the birds pose .............................

Common Snipe (of the Faroese race)

  Today (19th Dec) I headed off out to a favourite spot of mine to look for otters and, hopefully get one in the snow. The weather was cold, dull and it looked like snow. I've seen otters in the snow several times in the past, but only once got one in snow with the sun shining. As I approached one of the small bays, I heard one calling and saw two otters down on a small rocky island just a few yards from the beach. I wasn't in the best of positions (being silhouetted against the skyline) at the first opportunity I crawled down to the beach for some cover behind some rocks. I only saw them briefly and after a few minutes, assumed they'd moved on. Crawling over some more rocks, I then saw them below me coming in closer on each wave. As they swirled around in the water below me, one looked up in my direction and I then thought I'd been rumbled. The wind was right, but maybe I was (from their position) up above the skyline even though I was lying amongst the rocks..............

   I lost them again for several minutes until I heard them calling again to my right. Scrambling over the rocks, I could then see them a few yards below me in the next bay in water that was so clear I saw them under water. I watched them swim across the small bay but lost them as they neared the rocks on the other side. Assuming they'd gone, I was just about to leave when they both appeared on the top of the bank and were heading for a large patch of snow. Despite the distance and light, I had to photograph them if I could..............

Otters with a purpose !
.......... the end result !

  They both disappeared under ground and that was that. I didn't have long before returning home - as I'd got to be back by 1 o'clock - but I thought I did have half an hour just to wait and see if they reappeared. Hunkering down in the snow against a weather worn sandbank, I sat and waited. After 10 mintues a rabbit emerged just a few yards from me and I don't know who got more of a surprise me or it. It sat there for 5 minutes before deciding a 'legless' human probably couldn't do it much harm and then started to feed not far away.........


  Suddenly without warning, the female otter emerged and hesitated outside the hole, sniffing the ground briefly before trotting down past me less than fifteen feet away and on to the beach and then in to the sea. I couldn't have wished for a better view of an otter in the snow (apart from the sun shinning that is) and a better end to the morning.......

7D + EF500, 1/1250 @f6.3, ISO 1000, Spot metering

                     Robbie


2 comments:

MarkW said...

Wow, cracking otter pictures, & what a superb position to be in to watch them, brill!

robbieb said...

Thanks Mark, trouble is, usually the light is right and no otters then its the other way around :)