Forest Otter

Christmas came early this morning, a lovely sunrise and another Otter.

I was up early and on site just as it was getting light… this was a shot taken with full ISO and thus very grainy… The most likely time to see an otter is just as it is getting light or just as it is getting dark, which is the worst time for the camera.

By the way no Otter in the photo above it is just there to show what sort of picture you get immediately after sunrise.

I was scanning the far sides of the lake with my binoculars when suddenly there was a loud splash in the weedy water not 10 meters away from me. My first thoughts was maybe a large fish had surfaced.  Then the Otter popped up right in front of me and now about 50 meters out.  I desperately tried to focus but with my insulated gloves on it was all a bit of a fumble.

It dived and then reappeared further out, now I had yanked my gloves off and was better able to focus. Again it only had a quick look round and then disappeared off to the left behind some reed beds. I waited a short while but no more views so I slowly walked back along the bank and then I saw it again, now right across the lake and it moved across and then out of view.

I remained by the lake for about an hour, the sunrise produced some nice colours on the trees and reed beds but with only a telephoto lens I was limited in what I could snap away at.

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A young Swan came up close, maybe expecting me to feed it and when that did not happen it gave me a good loud hiss and then swam off. Also at the lake were a few Grey-lag Geese, two pairs of Mallards  some Coots and that was about it.

Next challenge is to get a shot of an Otter out of the water.. maybe sat on a rock in the middle of the river Wye eating a salmon….. now that really would be Christmas come early.

 

 

 

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Otter hunt; Lydbrook

18th October 2018… guess what… no Otters however a couple that I was talking to said they saw one yesterday.. This looks like a suitable Otter spot???

Anyway as you can see it was a lovely afternoon with the sun picking out the developing Autumn colours.

There was a Kingfisher up and down but preferred to perch well away from the bank.

 

The water was still flowing fast with quite a few apples floating down stream. In the river there was one brave little Moorhen.

 

Up and down the bank were three Robins chasing one another round and round, I don’t know if it was formation flying for fun or territorial disputes but the three of them kept it up for almost an hour with only brief stops for a rest. (The little dots visible to the left of the photo are not dirt on my lens they are midges)

 

And the good news was … today there were no fishermen in the water.

Soudley Ponds; Forest of Dean

Soudley ponds are small and user friendly.

There is a resident White Muscovy Duck  quite ugly but probably quite tasty if cooked slowly. Also a large group of Mallards or Mallard/Farm yard style ducks. These ducks are blessed by being fed with bird seed, corn and a few bits of sunflower and peanuts ( ie cheap bird seed) but a good staple for the ducks.

Then there is a good population of moorhens.

Are these two brothers? Maybe sisters, they do seem deep in conversation.

A few Little Grebes, one of my favourite water birds.

Grey Wagtails were flitting in and out.

The icing on the cake was a Kingfisher.

Grazers

Two groups of grazing animals have been introduced onto an area of the Forest of Dean to maintain the heath land habitat.

They also add to the photographic interest of this region. Already we have Wild Boar, Roe Deer, Fallow Deer and Muntjac Deer. Recently Beavers were released and maybe soon Pine Martens. Oh yes and Otters and Polecats and various small stuff.

Muntjac deer in Forest of Dean.

I saw these two Muntjacs (Muntiacus reevesi) on a slippery walk near Brierley. I think they are two different individuals, although they  were both in roughly the same vicinity. However one was at the beginning of my walk and the other was at the end. I think the second one has slightly bigger antlers and the preorbital scent gland is more pronounced.

When I lived in Norfolk I can’t ever remember photographing these little chaps, they were so common, but here in the Forest of Dean I hardly ever see them so they got the benefit of me snapping away.

 

You can clearly see the preorbital glands here, they look like two massive tears. They are used to mark the territory and give information about the owner. Studies have shown that the chemical composition of these secretions would permit muntjacs to identify an individual’s age, sex and population of origin. Both males and females have these glands.