Sunday, 2 December 2012

Morning Otter


In the past few months I have herd a few rumours about an otter on a local river, where I photograph regularly. After speaking to around 15 different people and visiting the site a number of times, I narrowed down the most likely area I would see it. But after reports that an otter had been killed on the road last week, my hopes weren't to high.

Two days ago I was luckily enough to see 2 otters briefly swimming down the river before disappearing, which was great news. This meant that there must be a family or a good number of otters in the area considering one was killed the other day and I had still seen 2.

This morning I got up in the frost and went in search once again. After about an hour of nothing but dog walkers, I decided to move to a different part of the river. This was a hard choice as the lighting in the other part of the river was extremely bad. None the less I decided to try.

Straight away I saw some bubbles moving around on the water surface. This is a key sign of an otter swimming under the surface. I followed it and moments later an otter popped its head up. I decided to watch it for 5 minutes and see where it was likely to go and its current behaviour. I found that it was hunting in a specific spot. So when it went underwater again I quickly ran to the waters edge and got as low as possible, to prevent being spotted and getting a low photography angle.

For the next 15 minutes it stayed in the area and I got the following shots.

Josh Jaggard
Floating Otter
Josh Jaggard
Intrigued Otter
Josh Jaggard
Otter playing with some weed
Josh Jaggard
Otter swimming towards me
Josh Jaggard
Otter chewing on a small fish
Josh Jaggard
Head shot of the Otter
Josh Jaggard
Otter chewing some weeds

Josh Jaggard
Curious Otter

This was a great experience and only my third ever encounter with an Otter. I am hoping to photograph them more in the coming weeks. The shot below was taken only half a meter away from me, Amazing experience.
Otter in hands reach
  • Speak to as many locals as possible. They know more then anyone, especially dog walkers!
  • Take a flask of tea, to keep warm on these cold morning. You will last longer in the field.
  • Good field-craft = Better shots and closer encounters. Study the behaviour.
  • Patience and perseverance.
  • With otters, look for signs of otter spraint (excrement) and also look for bubbles on the surface.
Hope you enjoyed the blog, hopefully more otters to come. Keep an eye on my facebook page for more:

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