Tuesday, 12 February 2013

WeBS Count (12/02/13)...

A rather late WeBS count today but the weather was perfect, cold, sunny and calm. I usually do a circular route to the three sites that I visit ending with Loch Achilty but for some reason today I decided to do it in "reverse" order.  I arrived at Loch Achilty around 10.30. Surprising the loch was mostly covered by a thin layer of ice. The loch itself is quite large but fairly easy to survey from a couple points and there is usually not much worth shouting about. I made my first stop at the side of the loch and started scanning. 4 Goldeneye and 3 Mallard noted which is usually about as exciting as it gets but still the view was beautiful in the sun. Then to my left about 100m I heard a loud "plop" sound and as I looked around I caught a glimpse of something diving below the surface of the water. I waited with binoculars fixed on that point and it returned to the surface and to my surpise it was an Otter! Superb! This is the very first wild otter I have ever seen and on such a beautiful morning in such a great location with Buzzard calling overhead and a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming on one of the old Oak trees somewhere behind me. I watched the otter for a good couple of minutes before hurrying back to grab the camera. I could see the otter from the car and made my way back to the shore. But by the time I got there to my right I heard a scraping noise and saw an old man in a canoe pushing his way through the thin ice towards the otter. Of course the otter disappeared straight away and I never saw it again. Typical that on a Loch where 99 / 100 I never see anyone that someone in a canoe would be on the loch the one time I see an otter and heading to the exact same spot but such is life! I still saw it and I am very pleased. At Loch Kinellan and Kinellan there wasn't much to report apart from numbers of Tufted Ducks are building up.

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