Saturday, April 06, 2013

Saturday 06/04/2013 - Otter

A fantastic morning at Priory Country Park. The lure of last weeks Otter sighting got me out of bed early and at the park by 06:15. With good cloud cover it was the sort of morning where I was expecting to see Sand Martins over the main lake but they still haven't made it to us yet this year. I was keen to get to the Finger Lakes but had a quick scan of the main lake and the sailing club lawn. I was hoping for a surprise wader at the sailing club but again came up blank. On the main lake there are still a few Pochard and plenty of Tufted Ducks. A pair of Gadwall and 9 Greylag Geese were found up at the Beach.

A quick loop around the Crescent flushed a couple of Corn Buntings from the reeds and a Water Rail into the reeds. At least 9 Little Egrets were still at Roost at the far end of the Spit on the east side.

Along the Spit 3 Bullfinches were active and a Chiffchaff was heard singing over by the Dead Seat. A pair of Canada Geese reluctantly gave way as I headed down the Spit. 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 pairs of Gadwalls and a male Shoveler were all noted on the lakes. I settled into the last fishing swim on the Spit looking out over west Fingers and waited for the Otter to show. A couple of Little Grebes appeared from one of the reed beds opposite. I waited a bit more. A Coot flew noisily from my left and landed near the Little Grebes. Looking back to where the Coot came from I spotted a sleek body dive, the Otter was there. I must have walked past it as I walked along the Spit.

Otter (West Finger Lakes)
It swam past me checking me out and then porpoised just to my right and I thought it was going to disappear down the end of the lake as the bubble trail headed off that way. I stood up to get some final shots only for the Otter to surface right in front of me. It crashed dived immediately and I thought that would be the last O saw of it but no, it surfaced again further along the Spit, moving close into the bank. A few ripples in the water and then nothing. I waited, then moved across the Spit to the opposite fishing swim, looking over east Fingers. I suspected the Otter might have sneaked across the Spit, in the closed section and I was right. Just a few ripples close to the bank under a tree at first then the Otter showed again and it came my way.
Otter (East Finger Lakes)
3 times it tried to come past me but each time it went back again and the third time i think it worked its way along the edge of the Spit going away from me. That was the last I saw of it but what a morning.
Great Crested Grebe (West Finger Lakes)
Back along the Spit one of the Great Crested Grebes was showing quite well so I set up in another fishing swim hoping there might be some interaction with one of the other GC Grebes. That didn't happen but for a few moments the dawn sun broke through the clouds and the light was golden, absolutely beautiful!

DK and JA arrived a little later and we did our usual circuit of the park but there was little of note. 100+ Wigeon and a Redshank on 100 Acre and the female Sparrowhawk near the nest at Kramer hide being the highlights of the rest of the mornings wanderings. Still no Blackcaps!
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