Just Otters

Just a little treat. Everyone likes otters.

I guess you’d like to hear my best otter story. I hadn’t seen too many otters on the river before this story took place. Maybe I’d seen them several times and only up to four otters total. I was on my way up from Monte Ro, on a nice fall day, like this one. I saw some otters up ahead and I wanted to get some pics of them. Wow, there were about ten of them, I couldn’t really count them as they were constantly in motion. I followed them up stream for about a half hour, not getting much in pictures as they’d stay just ahead of me. We rounded the corner at Northwood Golf course and wow again. This ten otters ran into another bunch of about ten. Now this was about twenty otters, more than I could possibly track. Then this weird thing happened. They all jumped out of the water and went to land right in front of me. A bunch of them started mating for a few minutes and the rest of them started barking at the sky like dogs would do. They sounded just like dogs. I was really surprised. They did this for a few minutes then all went back into the water around me, not caring that I was there, as now there was a gang of them and they weren’t much scared of me. I took some photos of them for about a half hour before I got tired of them and left. Unfortunately, the photos didn’t come out well. I didn’t get any of them howling at the sky because they were intermixed in the willow brush on the side of the river.

Since then, I’ve seen a lot of otters doing a lot of things, mostly eating. Otters have to come to the surface of the water to eat, so one can always see what they are eating and they are eating all the time and most everything too. In contrast, seals can eat under water, so what they eat, is mostly unknown to me, I can only guess, except I have seen them eat big fish on the surface.

Otters seem to disappear mostly from the river some time in the winter, seems like it’s after the big fish run.  I think a lot of them move out to the creeks and streams as they fill with winter waters to have their pups. There is more cover in these areas and they can keep there pups safer. I think they grow and eat in those areas until the water dries up with the summer heat and they eat most of the food. Otters seem to return to the river in late summer. Their pups are big enough now to mostly fend for themselves and there is lots of food on and near the river. They make there way down to Jenner and feed in the estuary with some feeding around the mouth of the river. They tend to go in loops with they feed. In other words, they start one one place on the river, go down one side to where ever they are going and then turn around and go back up the other side, returning to there starting point. The otter loops are big, measured in miles, not feet.

I’ve always liked this one.

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This is a favorite of mine, I think an older man, or….a……..otter.

He was resting on the beach about twenty feet form where I was resting in my kayak and didn’t seem bothered by my presence. I like it went they are at ease in my presence.

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These guys took over a person’s deck chair and were having a blast playing in it. Otters aren’t really too welcome on people’s stuff and in there boats tied to their docks. They tend to mess on things or just make a mess of things. It’s the mess on things that is the worse. :O)

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I was gliding along the side of the river when I surprised this group. They let me sit about ten feet from them for about ten minutes while I ate an apple and took pics of them. I think they were napping and didn’t want to be disturbed

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A couple otters hunting, stopping long enough  to check me out and off they went again. They usually don’t tend to stay still for very long, so one has to be quick taking photos of them.

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This is how they usually look while hunting along the shore line, catching crawfish, fish and just about anything else that gets in their path. I am able to detect them a lot of the times by all the noise they make eating. They also make some chirps and grunts that one can learn to recognize that gives their presence away. They often move along the brush line near the shore, feeding in the cover. They will also feed out in holes in the river diving repeatedly, coming up and crunching something, then diving back down and repeating this over and over. They are very good at it.

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This guy popped up right next to me one day. We were both surprised.

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That’s just a few of my otter pics. It’ll have to do for now.

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