Monday, 9 January 2017

At last, otters!

A forecast of solid rain all morning decided that I shall go to Tophill Low for some hide and seek. On the way, just before Bridge House Farm, a rabbit crosses the road ahead, closely followed by a stoat.
 D reservoir had hundreds of Coots, and Pochards were also plentiful, together with the usual assortment of ducks, Cormorants, Mute Swans and Great Crested Grebes. After trying and failing to spot the long-tailed duck I moved onto N Marsh, where I sat while the heaviest of the rain fell. After a few minutes, a Kingfisher flew past, but didn't settle. A Buzzard sent woodpigeons flying, and then started hovering over the fields across the river. There was little else other that the occasional alarm of a wren, when, after a long while, an otter! swimming fast and emerging only to breathe, it was hard to get any shots, but it stopped for a few seconds, leaning on a branch and that was my best shot (top). It looked like a young one. After about 20 minutes, another otter, which I could tell was a different individual by a pink spot on its nose and appeared larger.
 The second otter.
It eventually stopped raining and I moved onto Hempholme meadow. The path leading to the hide was peppered by cracked snail shells by little stones, the work of Song Thrushes, but it was a Mistle Thrush which rattled to a tree as I opened the hide flap. A Little Egret was fishing.

 I walked around the sound side of the reserve too. O reservoir was quite wavy, this coot looked out of place, like it was at sea.
Overall 52 species, 8 of them to add to the year list (now at 72).
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