Sunday 20 March 2011

Getting otter

Sol woke at 5.30am, as is sort of usual for him. I dozed for a bit then fell out of bed and had a mental conflict about whether to head over to Newburgh to twitch the Green-winged Teal, or to make the most of the early start and hit the LDV. Shortly, the shock of having to buy petrol at £1.30 a drop, made the decision for me, and I sacked off the 50 mile round trip for the teal, and decided the 8 mile trip to Wheldrake would be more sensible. I could after all find my own down there.

Thorganby first, which was disappointingly dry, with one rather miffed looking Oystercatcher wondering where it was going to get breakfast from. Some Tree Spugs in the hedge reminded me that I am not in Norfolk any more. Phew!

On to Wheldrake Ings, with Curlews bubbling in the dawn sun. After quick looks in the tower and pool hides, I went round to Swantail where I knew the early morning sun would be behind me. The only migrant I noted was a singing Chiffchaff, though my thoughts of a Garganey did not bear fruit. 37 Whooper Swans came in from the north, a spectacular sight as they glided on to the water in front of me. Simply stunning! An Eyptian Goose sitting in a tree was slightly bizarre.

I wondered back enjoying the spring sunshine and thinking where I would go next. As I neared the bridge I noticed a brown thing on the track ahead suddenly move - an Otter! It trotted through the grass on the verge down the bank towards the river. Not believing my eyes (it was only 10 metres away, I ran towards the bank and sadly it had gone into the water and away. I found these prints on the mud at the edge of the water. Having seen quite a few Otters recently, I think this was a female as it didn't have the bulk or large head of a male. I carefully checked all along the river and watched from the bridge for a bit, but to no avail.

On to North Duffield stopping off nearby to admire Woodlarks, which were singing beautifully.

Not much at North Duff, apart from 7 Ruff, 60+ Dunlin and a lot of ducks. A lovely morning, LDV style. Later, an Osprey flew over Wheldrake and the Great Grey Shrike was back at Skipwith, but you can't win 'em all.

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