Thursday, 16 February 2012

Gt. Ouse Otters (Kempston Mill)

I was on the look out for Otters again this morning after last week sighting. The first signs were some ripples at the south end of the island, in the river, just upstream from the church. While trying to identify the cause I spotted something further upstream, out of the corner of my eye, and the binoculars revealed an Otter coming down stream with a large fish in its mouth. This Otter disappeared behind the island so I returned my attention to the ripples and eventually a nose was spotted through the tangle of branches and a second Otter was confirmed. Next thing I knew the Otter with the fish joined the first and proceeded to munch on its prize. The other Otter had come across to my side of the river by this time and suddenly it was swimming past within a few feet of me. I hardly dared breath in case it spotted me, but fortunately it continued by and started hunting close in to the bank but out of sight, just the ripples and bubbles giving away its position.

I finally managed to get in a position to photograph the Otter eating the fish, a Bream I think. It was difficult to get any good shots with the low light and tangle of branches but here we go:  



After a while the second Otter joined the first at the fish and then a third Otter turned up! This was getting better and better. I just managed to get the three in frame together:


I was really hoping they might come out and play in the river after they finished their breakfast but sadly no, a couple of them moved into the reed bed on the opposite side of the river where I managed the best shot of the morning:

After that the activity died down and they just melted away. How do they do that?

What a morning and to top it off an Oystercatcher flew over, heading downstream, as I headed home along the back channel. Hopefully one of the Box End Park birds back for the breeding season.