Saturday, 5 March 2011
My mission this week has been to see if I could see and photograph the family of otters that have become a tourist attraction on Lake Windermere at Waterhead Pier Ambleside. They have featured in the local press and a film crew from the BBC has also paid a visit. I first visited last Sunday on a lovely sunny day but didn't spend a lot of time searching for the otters.Instead Kath and I enjoyed a delightful walk into Ambleside and a visit to Stock Ghyll waterfalls. We did have a look for the otters but there were none about.I was determined however to spend more time in my quest and therefore left home early on Friday.
I arrived at Waterhead around 9 am and Lake Windermere was flat calm and the weather was dull and a bit misty. I waited around the pier for around an hour but nothing showed but just as I decided to try looking along the lake shore ,I spotted the wake of an otter making a bee line for the pier. I quickly got back into position overlooking the corner where most of the sightings have been. It wasn't long before the otter emerged from under the pier and for the next twenty five minutes or so was very active as it swam and dived looking for fish. I had been joined by three other people and we had fabulous views of the otter no more than thirty feet away. The pier is visited on a regular basis by a family of three otters,a female and two cubs from last year which are now fully grown. The otter we were watching was one of the cubs as apparently the female is blind in one eye but she or the other cub didn't appear. Maybe they have now gained their independence and will soon leave to set up their own territories.
The otter departed after about twenty five minutes and we watched it being mobbed by gulls as it made it's way back across Lake Windermere. I was very well pleased with my morning's work and it had definitely been worth the early morning trip to Ambleside. I spent my remaining time with a walk into Ambleside for lunch and on the way had excellent views of a pair of dippers gathering nesting material and building a nest under a bridge over the River Rothay. I returned to Waterhead Pier and spent more time with a group of hopeful otter watchers but none of the otters returned. By now the weather was turning gloomy with mist coming down and I decided it was time to return home after what had been a very memorable time watching a wild otter on Lake Windermere.
I have posted some images from this wonderful encounter with the otter and I may post some more at a later date. I hope my readers and followers enjoy looking at them. It was one of those very special wildlife encounters as wild otters are very difficult to see and photograph in England and are mostly nocturnal. It is only on the coasts of Scotland where sightings are more common in the daytime so I feel very lucky to have experienced these close up views of one of our special animals so close to home. Thanks Lake Windermere for a great day.