Maximising our chances

by on May.22, 2010, under Birdwatching, Druridge Bay, Northumberland, Otter

So far this year, tracking down Otters has proved slightly more difficult than it did last year.¬† That’s one of the drawbacks of working with animals ūüėȬ† They’re generally not predictable.¬† That’s what makes a wildlife tour so much fun though, you just never know what you’re going to experience.

However, after a brief sighting on Thursday evening, I was happy that we’re still visiting the right¬†areas of Northumberland¬†to maximise our clients’ chances of connecting with this elusive, graceful predator.¬† I arrived at Newbiggin at 10am yesterday to collect Derek and Jacky for a mini-safari in Druridge Bay.¬† After our usual commentary on the industry and landscape of the area, as we drove towards Cresswell, it was time to settle and be patient.¬† I’d just finished explaining the two types of bird behaviour that usually accompany the appearance of an Otter, when there was a good example of the first; eight Tufted Ducks scattered from the edge of the pond.¬† Sure enough, it was less than 20 seconds before I spotted the tell-tale dark back breaking the surface and for the next few minutes we watched an adult Otter as it surfaced, dived and fed, all the while with a flock of Black-headed Gulls circling above it.¬† After a minute or two without any further sign I was sure it had disappeared into a channel in the reeds, probably going to rest after feeding.¬† The gulls began moving around the pond randomly; clearly they’d lost sight of the Otter as well.¬† Further entertainmant was provided by 3 Herons that were following each other around, and a Carrion Crow that was foolhardy enough to fly over several pairs of nesting Lapwings.

After the morning seemed to just fly past, I took Derek and Jacky back to Newbiggin and then returned to the office, before heading out in the evening to check another new Otter site and enjoy some relaxed birdwatching.¬† But that’s another story for another day…

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