Getting up at 4.30 am is not my usual start to the day but I hadn't slept much anyway with the anticipation of a trip to Dorset to look for otters. Jane, an enthusiastic local otter watcher had kindly agreed to meet up with me but despite my early start I was still late. :(
There was a fantastic sunrise that morning but no pictures from me as the 600mm + 1.4x combination I had chosen wouldn't have done it justice. I hoped for some otters in the sunlit river but it wasn't to be. In fact it was only when we saw some other photographers that we realised we had missed the start of the fun. It was rumoured that there might be up to seven otters in the area and I am amazed that we managed to see and photograph and film five or possibly six different animals. A mother and single cub provided the initial entertainment and then a mother with two cubs appeared upstream. There was possibly a cub from last year but keeping track of them all became a bit tricky. The mum and single cub kept close together most of the time although the mother would dive and hunt while the cub waited on the side periodically. The other family group seemed to have smaller younger cubs and they saw less of their mother and spent more time on the bank resting. Light was gloomy for most of the time but we had periods of beautiful sunshine which showed their fur coats to advantage. It was also freezing cold which meant that unbelievably, we had to say goodbye to the otters while they were still very active.
Here are a few of the very many pictures taken that day.
Mother otter visiting cubs
Mother about to enter water with cub
Mother pushing feisty cub away
Mother with cub on tree trunk
Cub on bank entering water. Bubbles are from hunting mother.
Cub on tree
Cub on bank
Other things of interest that morning included watching a kingfisher following the otters, presumably waiting for any damaged or dropped fish to appear.
A goldcrest also flitted close enough for a shot.
All in all a great day, lots learned and too much to put in a single blog post so more may follow when I get a moment.