Causing a commotion; Otter mini-safari 15/05/2014

by on May.17, 2014, under Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Otter, Southeast Northumberland

“If you usually travel through Northumberland to get to Scotland, what is it about Northumberland that made you choose to stay here on this holiday?”  I asked the question as a bit of market research; after all, knowing why people visit Northumberland helps with developing a better experience for them.  The answer was slightly unexpected though “This otter safari”…

I arrived at Church Point shortly before Philip and Pauline, who were back for their second trip with NEWT following a Druridge Bay safari in 2012.  We quickly met up with Albert and Elisabeth and began our search for Otters in the pools of Druridge Bay.  With no obvious panic amongst the assembled wildfowl, I decided that we should try elsewhere.  Initially all seemed calm and, as an entertaining discussion about mustelids developed (with all four participants on the trip having previously seen one species that is still very high on my wish list…), I kept checking the ducks and geese along the water’s edge.  Then, a change; two pairs of Canada Geese were suddenly very alert.  Necks held straight up, all staring intently along the river bank.  That was a good sign.  Then a better one, as a brood of Mallard ducklings scattered in a semi-circle from the bankside vegetation.  Something had spooked them, but what was it?  For the next five minutes I kept my binoculars trained on the spot that the Mallards had scattered from.  First there was no indication of what had scared them, but it had to be something…then persistence paid off.  What appeared to be a log floating on the water hadn’t been there the last time I looked, and it rolled at the surface, dived and popped back up 🙂  Using the shapes of the trees on the bank as landmarks, everyone was soon watching the Otter as it dived repeatedly in the same spot.  It was so fixated on feeding in a very small area that I was able to train the telescope on it and everyone managed to watch it through ‘scope as well as binoculars.  It vanished for a few minutes, before the geese alerted us to it’s presence a little way downstream.  As daylight faded the surface of the river became a featureless, unwelcoming darkness as bats flitted back and forth around the tree canopy and we headed back.

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Albert

    Thanks for a great evening! We were very impressed that you managed to find the otter. We wouldn’t have been able to find it ourselves (if we would have known where to go to find them in the first place….).

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