Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Home Alone is Just a Memory

The otter family is alive and well (ish).  A few days  after we saw the cubs on their own for several hours we saw a male otter and this probably disturbed the mother on that day. 

I had the trail camera out from Nov 24th to Dec 11th by the cliff holt and picked up an otter on 12 separate occasions, mostly at night.  The cubs were seen in front of the holt on December 1st and 2nd, the first time we had seen them since the 'home alone' incident.   The cubs are around 80% of the body length of the mother, which makes them around 60 days old.   Therefore they were born at the start of October.

Otter cubs on trail camera

Otter cubs on trail camera

Otter cub on trail camera

There was quite a storm on Sunday, with winds gusting up to 50mph (I was blown over once, 40mph does not do that; 60 mph and its hard to stand up at all).  A surprise then to see the otter family fishing just before high tide, battling against the waves, and catching fish.   One of the cubs is bolder than the other and even managed to catch a fish of its own.   Its sibling is less outgoing and sat hidden in the rocks making a regular piping call throughout.   I took 6 minutes of video which I need to digitise.

Today was calmer and 3 hours before high tide  the family were out fishing quite close in amongst the wrack.  (In the past I have carelessly been imprecise about the seaweed, calling it all kelp which of course it is not - the wrack is intertidal, the kelp can only be seen at low tide.)  As on Sunday one cub showed a mark preference for the rocks rather than the water.   We also noticed that the mother has an eye wound, hard to see precisely what the problem is but there is a pink area around the left eye.  
Otter family
Mother with eye injury still able to catch fish
I will wait to be fed
A seal watched the proceedings.