Forget Springwatch and Winterwatch, this is Otterwatch from the Isle of Skye.
The past two days we have had strong winds from the south west whipping up the sea into a ferment. I measured a gust of 63mph on the more exposed, westerly side of the croft. I imagine most animals and birds would find a spot to hide.
Today was calmer and I therefore expected there would be wildlife about. To my surprise and delight I saw a family of otters, a mother and two cubs, then watched them feeding for over 3 hours. Only hunger and cold, wet clothing, brought me back indoors.
After 10 minutes the mother and one cub re-emerged going back west again, past me, the slipway and the cliff, fishing all the time. Then out on the rocks, back in the water back to the slipway, fishing in the deeper water above the kelp. Several fish were caught. Then back into Ainort and to the bay further west where the cub was left on the shore and the mother brought food to it. The catches here seemed to be squid because the water is quite shallow there. Back in the water again and east to just beyond the eastern boundary of our croft. Same again, the cub was left on the shore and the mother supplied it with fish. Sometimes the cub swam amongst the seaweed close in.
This lasted for about 15 minutes and there was one memorable moment when I correctly predicted where they would both come out on the rocks, no more than 20 yards from me. I think the fish might be a gurnard, but I am in new territory to make an ID.
I left them to it.
I suppose I should also give a brief mention to the three great northern divers and the four mergansers. But this was definitely an otter day, in fact one of the very best I have ever had. I have never seen otters fishing for such a sustained period; building up their reserves after two difficult days.