After a frustrating night of mist-netting last Tuesday night (update on that to come when Newton gives me the photos!), Wednesday got off to a great start. While enjoying a morning cuppa on the steps of the bothy, I suddenly spotted a brief glimpse of an otter scoot over the rocks beside the pier. We waited just a few moments and, sure enough, its head appeared above the surface of the water in the Ham. We watched it earnestly as it made a couple of short dives under the water, each time reappearing at the surface and looking in our direction. We were sure it wouldn’t hang around for long; both times I’ve spotted an otter before from here, the animal has shown briefly, but then made a sharp exit as soon as it became aware of us at the top of the beach.
However, this time, breakfast was obviously more important and we watched as the otter made several short dives, after some of which the animal appeared triumphantly with a fish in its mouth. We tracked it as it fished, making its way slowly out into middle of the West Ham, until it appeared at the surface with the rear end of a substantial fish in its jaws. With a big meal to consume, the otter swam speedily to the south side of the Ham and climbed out onto the rocks, where it proceeded to devour its breakfast (or maybe lunch...we - nocturnal storm-petrellers - are probably on a slightly different timescale to otters!) in front of us.
When the excitement subsided and the otter moved off, we thought it was about time we started some work. Back in the bothy, we cleared up after breakfast and got together our gear, when I then spotted a Great Northern Diver in the West Ham. Probably the same bird that had been in the Ham yesterday morning, the bird is not quite in full breeding plumage, but still a very smart and beautiful bird. And so, our attentions were turned away from work for a little longer...
Photos to come soon!