I've just been looking at the web site, and was surprised (unless I've somehow missed it completely) to see no mention of Otters. I saw one there on Jan 23rd at dusk, along with my wife, and two others in the hide. A superb view, with the Otter swimming as far as possible towards the hide on the left of the causeway, then crossing the causeway to the right, then back again, then swimming away the entire length of the causeway, before crossing right again and swimming the entire width of the pool, finally vanishing from sight in the far right hand corner. This surely wasn't a 'one off'...was it?
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Nice sighting, that one! You’ve been really lucky. We have never actually seen one on the Farm, in all the time it has been a Reserve - although I don’t know if Norman(RSPB Cumbria Coastal Reserves Manager) or Dave(RSPB Campfield Marsh Reserve Manager) have ever seen any?
I remember talking to a previous Assistant Warden who thought he had seen otter tracks around the pools near the farm. I myself, some years ago, whilst walking along the road one evening (doing my constitutional) heard a splashing under the culvert over the stream which leads onto the Reserve, between Campfield and Maryland Farms - and was delighted to see a mother and cub otter heading into the Reserve. I had a particularly good view of the cub which stopped and looked at me.
Going back to the one you have seen recently - where you said it disappeared is, in actual fact, in the region of the sluice for controlling water levels and which empties into the main drain between Maryland farm and the Reserve, which in its turn drains out into the estuary - so it is reasonably safe to assume that estuary otters do get into the Reserve this way. It would be fair to assume that the otter was hunting for frogs on the wetland, but this is just my guess!
You were indeed very fortunate. Please don’t say you didn’t have your camera with you?
John and Judith
Sounds like we really were lucky then! Though we do seem to have been VERY lucky with Otters recently, seeing one the week before on Windermere, then the Campfield one, then TWO the following week on Windermere again :-)))
I did have my camera, but it was very late, and raining gently, and the light just wasn't good enough to get a photo unfortunately.
I've just been looking on the OS map, and I see that the area it was last seen is right next to a path; I've not been down that path, but next time I'm there in good time, I'll go down and see if there are any tracks there. The otter certainly looked like it knew exactly where it was going, so maybe there is a regular route? If it crosses the path there, then hopefully there will be some clear signs.
When it was swimming across the back of the pool, it was very hard to follow, and if we hadn't been watching it from close up in the first place, I'm not sure we would have seen it, and in that poor light, even if we had, I can't imagine we would have identified it as an otter.
I'll make sure to take the video camera next time, as that has night-vision ;-)