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Posted on Mar 31, 2014 in Blog, Otters | 0 comments

‘White Beard’ – The wandering male otter

‘White Beard’ – The wandering male otter

We have continued to follow the 3 young otters and the lone male ‘White Beard’ along the Río Piloña and Río Sella. I’m very happy to have captured these pictures.  They represent our last encounter with the otters for a while.  Belinda and I are changing location.  We are leaving the riverbank to concentrate on the seascapes and mountains of Asturias and northern Spain.  But we will continue, as usual, to post our wildlife encounters here – at Wild Asturias. The image above was the last picture on my memory card.   Unaware that I was sitting, waiting, the otter swam directly towards me, and then froze just long enough to get a dozen shots. Despite looking intently for the next 20 minutes, it had vanished – just like they have done on so many occasions. All Rights Reserved – © John Shackleton – Wild Asturias Share...

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Posted on Mar 24, 2014 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

Changing course

Changing course

It appears the otter family dynamics are changing on the river.  We suspect the adult female has now abandoned her fully grown young.  We’ve not seen them all together for over a month.  However, the 3 cubs remain close by – and we have watched them often around two rest areas. We’ve also seen a lone male otter – almost everyday for the past 2 weeks.  Initially its routine was sporadic – even swimming down river, through the town at 2pm.  After many early morning starts, we’ve now found a pattern.   The otter heads up river between 7 and 8am, almost like clockwork (though predicting a good spot to photograph them is another matter).  It has a distinctive white beard, making him slightly easier to identify. The low winter sun in the morning is proving to be a problem, but with the shots below – fog and poor light were the biggest challenge. All Rights Reserved – © John Shackleton – Wild Asturias As I stood on the river’s...

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Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

Otter fishing in the shallow water

Otter fishing in the shallow water

We’ve had a record breaking month watching the otters – and I make no apology for publishing another post about them.  Each encounter is something special and worthy of recording. This individual spent 30 minutes fishing in the shallows, and caught an eel and two trout whilst we watched from the riverbank. Engrossed in hunting and eating, it didn’t pay much attention to us.  We’ve worked hard lately, walking the riverbanks for many hours – and observing them undetected is the best kind of encounter. All Rights Reserved – © John Shackleton – Wild Asturias Share...

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Posted on Jan 26, 2014 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

Chasing otters in the rain

Chasing otters in the rain

One of two otters we watched along the Río Piloña.  Yesterday was another gloomy Saturday.  The river was high and the water murky with a strong, fast current.  Add to the mix constant rain – and not ideal conditions for a walk.  But we went out anyway. As luck would have it, after just 20 minutes, we spotted two otters – both were swimming impressively fast along the Río Piloña.  Once again, they proved to be capable of swimming faster than we can run!  During the chase to get ahead of them, we got soaked trying to jump lake-sized puddles and scrambling down a muddy riverbank.  Be did a great job with the umbrella, protecting me and the camera from the rain, whilst scanning the river with her binoculars. In the end, 28 of the 29 shots we took were either blurry, partial shots of an otter’s tail or empty river water.  One shot was perfect.   The image above was taken at f5.6, 1/400, ISO1600 at 280mm with a...

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Posted on Jan 13, 2014 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

Solitary Otter

Solitary Otter

December and January have usually been good months for seeing otters.  This winter has been somewhat frustrating!  Clues to their presence are very frequent in the form of tracks and spraint but there were no glimpses towards the end of the year. However, our luck changed early this morning, as we watched a lone otter for 30 minutes – our first of 2014.  The nearby ducks seemed nervous, but the otter’s attention was firmly fixed upon fishing trout and eels, and it successfully caught both.  The image above was taken just moments before it disappeared. We recently looked back through the records to analyse our otter sightings.  We are now fast approaching 100 separate encounters – excluding sightings in other parts of Asturias and Spain. Another otter taken during the winter (December 2012).  And hard to imagine getting another similar opportunity.  All Rights Reserved – © John Shackleton – Wild Asturias Share...

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Posted on Nov 29, 2013 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

Young otter rock climbing

Young otter rock climbing

After a dry summer and autumn, we have experienced a period of rain.  The river has been at its highest for at least 6 months.  In the past few weeks otter sightings have been zero. This week, we resumed our walks along the Río Piloña with the water level now returning to normal.  The herons have comeback, with 3 or 4 individuals maintaining their motionless posts along the riverbank.  The kingfishers and dippers are also busy – and easier to observe with the leaves from the riverside trees having made way for winter. There have been no clues to the otters whereabouts.  We often wonder if they will they ever appear again.  But we shouldn’t have worried.  We were soon watching a family of 4 otters through our binoculars and camera.  And we saw  them at close quarters with spectacular views.  The three cubs seemed relaxed, straying quite far from the mother (though she often called to them).  Two youngsters in particular were frantically playing – too busy to...

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