Swanning around; Otter mini-Safari 20/10/2015

by on Oct.21, 2015, under Druridge Bay

We’ve spent a lot of time watching Otters, and probably just as much time watching the behaviour of other wildlife whenever our favourite sinuous stealthy predator is on the prowl.  You could be forgiven for thinking that we’d know exactly how birds would behave…

I collected Rebecca and Russell from Church Point and we set off for a few hours exploring Druridge Bay and southeast Northumberland on an Otter mini-Safari.  The chilly afternoon air was bathed in beautiful light, as Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal and Shoveler dabbled and Little Grebe and Tufted Duck dived.  Lapwing skittishly took flight, Grey Heron and Little Egret stood motionless, Common Snipe squabbled and probed, a small murmuration of Starlings soon dropped into the warmth and security of the reeds and a Water Rail came out into the open to bathe.  As the light faded I was scanning the shadows at the base of a reedbed and passed by a family of Mute Swans.  There was sudden swirl of brown next to them, and my first thought was Little Grebe – after all the swans didn’t seem concerned, but there was a niggling doubt in my mind…and then the Otter resurfaced 🙂  For nearly 30 minutes it fed, often in amongst the swans, and rarely more than a few metres away from them.  I’ve seen swans hissing and growling at Otters, I’ve seen them angrily charge towards a feeding Otter when they’d got small cygnets, but this was the first time I’d seen them almost completely ignore one that was so close that it was swimming, and feeding, between them!  The Otter vanished into the reeds, and we headed back to the car with pipistrelle bats hawking around the trees in the half-light of dusk.

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