I had a wonderful experience yesterday evening, one you get not too many times in a lifetime - I saw an otter close up in our river in the daylight. I had been out picking a few daffodils for the parlour and was pruning a few wee bits and pieces as I made my way back indoors. I decided to throw the very tiny clippings into the river and as I did so, on the opposite bank I spied an otter ducking and diving. I stood still and watched it swim upstream and out of sight. I flew excitedly indoors to tell M and as we looked out of the window a heron landed in the very same spot in the river where the otter had been. The heron is here a lot, he is the most patient and stealthy bird as he makes his way upstream on the lookout for fish. Every year a parent heron will bring a young one to the river, obviously teaching it how to catch fish.
I have seen otters before in the moonlight, I hear them regularly on my nightly walks and there is always otter spraint on our banks. I blogged about otters many times but I have never seen one up close in the daylight before though I have seen mink and polecats. M has glimpsed otters in the early evening diving near our little bridge, he was struck by how huge they are, especially the dogs (males).
Tonight I decided to sit by the river and stage an otter- watch. I have just been out at the same time as I saw the otter yesterday which was 7.30 pm. I sat by the river partially hidden by a laurel bush but with a clear view of the river.
We have a dippers’ nest just upstream under the road bridge and I had a very clear view of that, there is much activity there - I believe there may be young ones in the wooden nest box. Dippers have nested here for generations, I have read about them in a book written by someone who grew up here. We are very lucky to be able to watch them in such close proximity, they are used to us and even tolerate the dogs being near them on the river ‘beach’.
I sat by the river for quite a while, all was quiet apart from the dippers flying downstream to fish and then returning to the nest, the occasional car passing by and various birds singing in the trees. I decided to go out later when dusk is starting to descend.
As soon as I came indoors I looked out of the cottage window and saw an unusually large bird, but not as big as a buzzard on the little bridge so I got my binoculars out to see what it was. I think it was a kestrel and as I called M to show him, it swooped down onto the surface of the river in an attempt to catch something - obviously one of my beloved dippers. Luckily he missed - I hope that the dipper dove down deep into the river. This kestrel must have seen me go into the cottage before deciding to swoop on his prey!
So it is all happening here on the wildlife stage. I often think that I would love to set up an infra-red night camera but they are quite expensive.
I will report back as soon as there is more news on the nature front.
Bye for now,