Friday, 27 June 2014

Otters and Eels!

Every once in a while an experience comes along that you know you will remember for the rest of your life. I had one such experience yesterday.
    I was staying with my Granny in her lovely house in the Burren. The weather was unpleasant to say the least, a misty irrepressible rain had taken hold and hadn't stopped since the morning. Sick of being inside though I decided to have a walk to a nearby beach. Waterproofs on I headed out, across a river and around to cross it again on a larger bridge. I scanned from here and saw nothing much of interest, a few shelduck and a heron. Looking down into the water something caught my attention, it poked its head out of the water, an otter!
    Otters aren't things I see a lot and it was only 30 metres or so away. I immediately began to watch it, taking the odd photo. It began to swim back to the smaller bridge so wishing to intercept it I ran as fast as one can with about 10kg of gear! I arrived but it was much further than I had expected so I walked around to the far side of the large bridge and watched it from there. It caught an eel or two fairly close to the bridge and I decided to get closer as this was obviously a good spot for fishing.
    There is a ruin of an old mill by the bridge I was on. I crept ever closer to the waters edge every time the otter went down and froze when it resurfaced. Eventually I managed to get onto a prone position on the wet grass in the rain. Wearing a sunhat to keep the rain out of my eyes I must have looked hilarious to those that drove by on the bridge. The otter was swimming and diving to my right about 20 metres away. It was close enough for some decent photos. I am in no doubt as to the fact that the otter knew I was there but instead of swimming away as one would expect it came closer, a lot closer! I was in awe of this amazing creature who seemed un phased by my presence. It proceeded to dive and come up with a few nice eels several times, watching the eels disappear down the throat of a hungry otter was fascinating. 
    I saw the otter turn in my direction. It dived and resurfaced closer to me then swam over to a close rock with a whopper of an eel in its jaws. It ate this within 2 minutes. I could hear its munching on the fish, I could see the blood on its still wriggling body and I smelt freshly caught eel! What an experience! The otter then looked me in the eye licked his lips and slid back into the water. I watched it eat more eels and come out 2 more times. 
    After about 3 hours of watching this amazing animal it went under the water and didn't resurface. It most likely went into a holt through an underwater entrance. With the otter gone I realised I was lying on the grass soaked to the skin and freezing cold but I didn't care. What a marvellous mustelid!

Typical swimming view-Look at those fangs!

After catching an eel

Bringing his catch to a rock to eat

Down goes the eel!

It stopped and stared at me

The otter heads back into the water

Sunset - A meadow and the Burren in the background before the rain.
Again I will be posting some of these to flickr for an optimum viewing experience. Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment