Watching Wildlife on our Walk
By Michelle Mather
Yesterday on our walk we noticed some activity on a pond ahead. Cam kept Morgan (the Wonder Dog) behind while I slowly walked ahead, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever it was before it heard me and disappeared.
We have often seen beavers and muskrats on this particular pond and so I was expecting that once I got close enough, the creature would be revealed as one of them but I was in for an even bigger treat! I soon realized that an otter was in the pond and it was busy!
There was a thin layer of ice on the pond and I watched as the otter repeatedly surfaced by breaking through the thin crust. Once its head was above water I could see that it had something it its mouth and it would chow down on whatever it was eating before once again slipping beneath the ice and the water. I could follow its path underwater by the bubbles that rose and were trapped by the thin ice. Sure enough, a few minutes later, a black sleek head would push up against the thin ice and it would pop up once again, with something else in its mouth!
From time to time the otter would actually climb right out of the water on to the ice to enjoy its catch. Otters are carnivores and this one seemed to be having a feast of frogs and fish that it was finding in this pond. At times I felt like I was watching one of my cats…. the otter had the same lazy, playful exuberance as a cat toying with a mouse.
Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, but I’ve included some photos of river otters that I found online elsewhere.
Otters are really fascinating and beautiful creatures. In the time we’ve lived here in the woods we’ve managed to observe them fairly regularly and each time we come away from our experience with a renewed appreciation for the wildlife that we share these woods and ponds with!