Otter photos...

Cap'n Fishy

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Following my report on the latest addition to Edinburgh's urban otter population....

Urban otter

... I have been through the 900 frames I brought home and whittled them down to 50. So, you may as well have the other 49... 😜

DunsapieLoch15Dec20_5776.jpg


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DunsapieLoch15Dec20_6079.jpg


To be continued...
 

Cap'n Fishy

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It’s not difficult to see why otters were to blame some of the “Nessie “ sightings ...😉

Aye, I spotted that one a couple of years ago when we were out on Lochy with Mark, and a family of otters were out on the water. Dead easy to see how you can make a Nessie out of one, or even two of them, one behind the other, if you just mess with the perspective...

What I noticed was that for all the frolicking and stickleback hunting she was doing most of the time, every so often she would enter a kind of trance-like state, and just cruise along, quite stiff, as shown in the second last shot. I'm sure that has accounted for a few Nessie sightings over the years...

Col
 

williegunn

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Col, did you see them eating? I've seen them eating eels on the Spey, it's the noise, the crunch that attracted my attention.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Col, did you see them eating? I've seen them eating eels on the Spey, it's the noise, the crunch that attracted my attention.

You see all the open-mouthed shots? That is it chewing on what it has got hold of when it was diving. It was a constant process... dive, surface, chew, chew, chew, dive, surface, chew, chew, chew...

My mate has photos of it with a stickleback. My deductions (which could be wrong)...

The loch used to have some very big perch and a population of pike. However, it has suffered from eutrophication from all the goose poop and that of other waterfowl, and it might be that all that is left is sticklebacks (which seem to be pretty hardy things).

When they first moved in (there are at least 2 and one report of 3 otters on the loch) the loch had lots of waterfowl on it. However, one was filmed making off into the bushes with a mallard in its mouth. When I was there on Tuesday, the loch was notable for the total absence of ducks and coots and moorhens. They've either been eaten or they have twigged it is not a safe place to be and they have flown off. All that was present was a heron and a pair of Canada geese (which would probably hold their own against an otter).

So, sticklebacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner it seems. And that probably explains why they are putting on such a good show - they have to keep hunting for long periods to get enough of the wee feckers. The spikey wee things can't be very palatable - hence all the chewing required before swallowing.

Old adage - face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. New adage - face like an otter chewing a stickleback. 🤪

Col
 

williegunn

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A little worrying, Joe public will be turning up with tins of Tuna, fish from Tescos etc, next see a car, rush over to see what's on offer.

Some stags in the Highlands, have had to be destroyed as they became too demanding and with a head of antlers, could easily take someone'e eye out as my mother would say.
 
G

GEK79

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A little worrying, Joe public will be turning up with tins of Tuna, fish from Tescos etc, next see a car, rush over to see what's on offer.

Some stags in the Highlands, have had to be destroyed as they became too demanding and with a head of antlers, could easily take someone'e eye out as my mother would say.
And when the otter takes a finger from someone feeding them.. Eejits some humans are.
 
G

GEK79

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You see all the open-mouthed shots? That is it chewing on what it has got hold of when it was diving. It was a constant process... dive, surface, chew, chew, chew, dive, surface, chew, chew, chew...

My mate has photos of it with a stickleback. My deductions (which could be wrong)...

The loch used to have some very big perch and a population of pike. However, it has suffered from eutrophication from all the goose poop and that of other waterfowl, and it might be that all that is left is sticklebacks (which seem to be pretty hardy things).

When they first moved in (there are at least 2 and one report of 3 otters on the loch) the loch had lots of waterfowl on it. However, one was filmed making off into the bushes with a mallard in its mouth. When I was there on Tuesday, the loch was notable for the total absence of ducks and coots and moorhens. They've either been eaten or they have twigged it is not a safe place to be and they have flown off. All that was present was a heron and a pair of Canada geese (which would probably hold their own against an otter).

So, sticklebacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner it seems. And that probably explains why they are putting on such a good show - they have to keep hunting for long periods to get enough of the wee feckers. The spikey wee things can't be very palatable - hence all the chewing required before swallowing.

Old adage - face like a bulldog chewing a wasp. New adage - face like an otter chewing a stickleback. 🤪

Col
I witnessed 2 otters in my lough.. I jaf turned up nice day setting up had my back turned heard a splash and thought christ that was a big fish..
Turned round and two heads staring at me.. I moved to get phone to take a picture. Away..
Fantastic shots Col.. Thanks so much
 

Cap'n Fishy

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A little worrying, Joe public will be turning up with tins of Tuna, fish from Tescos etc, next see a car, rush over to see what's on offer.

Some stags in the Highlands, have had to be destroyed as they became too demanding and with a head of antlers, could easily take someone'e eye out as my mother would say.

Everyone seems to be behaving sensibly towards them - so far! No cars at present, as the road is closed off due to covid - which will be helping keep the numbers of people down on what it would normally be. It's a decent wee walk up and back - though plenty of folk were there - a lot of them to do some otter-watching.

It was remarkable how tame it was - came towards me and I couldn't get focus on it, because my lens limiter was switched on and it stops trying to focus at less than 3 metres. I looked down and the otter was just below me, about 6 feet away! Its tameness may well be its undoing - I hope not. If there is nothing to eat except sticklebacks, I doubt that is going to sustain 3 of them long-term? I'm not even sure it was sticklebacks it kept bringing up. Might have been crunching on water snails??? Anyway, they might end-up looking for pastures new. Pretty decent wee city explorers, having found the Figgate Pond in Portobello, and come down the Water of Leith as far as Bonington. My pal and I were speculating on them getting to the likes of Inverleith and Blackford Ponds - and even the pond in the Botanic Gardens. It will be a shock for the waterfowl on those places, going by their total absence on Dunsapie now! the Figgate Pond waterfowl seem to be OK, as it is stuffed with roach, which are keeping the otters there well-fed.

Col
 

hutch6

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What camera optics are you using her Col?
They are fabulous pictures.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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What camera optics are you using her Col?
They are fabulous pictures.

Cheers, Hutch.

I was using a 100-400 mm f4.5-5.6 image-stabilised lens, fitted with a x1.4 extender, to give a 560 mm lens @ f8, wide open. I had the camera on a monopod for additional stability. I was shooting in 'Shutter Priority'. Shutter speeds were mostly 1/250 or 1/500 sec. Auto-ISO was used to give correct exposure, although I was having to keep switching it up and down with +1 or +2 EV at times and - 1 EV at other times to keep the otter correct and ignore the background. That's how the background varies from very dark to blown-out white. The sun was creeping round from the south end and if the otter was south of me, I was shooting 'contre jour'. However, if the otter moved to the north side of me, it was then in shade from the cliff on the other side from us, and I was in addition shooting with the light and in danger of overexposing the otter. So, I spent the whole time moving the EV compensation up and down.

Here's the settings of the 50 frames I kept...








Col
 
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Cap'n Fishy

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... not been to the loch for them, just giving them a bit peace

It's commendable of you Andy, but word it well and truly out - it was from the first piece to appear on YouTube. Joe Public is there every day to see them. By and large, they don't seem bothered with all the attention - just go about the business of finding food, with all these strange multicoloured creatures standing in the background.... one heron, 2 Canada geese, 3 photographers, 4 joggers, 5 dog-walkers, 6 cyclists, and a dozen walkers with phone-cams...

But it will be interesting to hear how they get on over the coming months. They might just run out of food and be forced to move on?

Col
 

boorod

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Yeh I know a few that has been to photograph them and have said the same, no doubt they will move back to Dudingston if food gets a bit scarce, though probably doing that at the moment, there are other ones on the W,O,L in the town also that I know off also, but not getting the same attention as these ones are.
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Yeh I know a few that has been to photograph them and have said the same, no doubt they will move back to Dudingston if food gets a bit scarce, though probably doing that at the moment, there are other ones on the W,O,L in the town also that I know off also, but not getting the same attention as these ones are.

Aye, the WoL ones are trickier to spot for the casual punter. Can't just go to a spot and be guaranteed to see them, whereas if you go to Dunsapie, you get a show most days. Even the ones at the Figgate Pond have loads more cover. There's really no cover at Dunsapie, so if you have to spend the time hunting, you are in plain sight. What do you think it is chewing? I was assuming it was sticklebacks, but now I'm thinking it might be pond snails?

Col
 

williegunn

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Aye, the WoL ones are trickier to spot for the casual punter. Can't just go to a spot and be guaranteed to see them, whereas if you go to Dunsapie, you get a show most days. Even the ones at the Figgate Pond have loads more cover. There's really no cover at Dunsapie, so if you have to spend the time hunting, you are in plain sight. What do you think it is chewing? I was assuming it was sticklebacks, but now I'm thinking it might be pond snails?

Col
Are you suggesting they ze French otters?
 

Cap'n Fishy

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Are you suggesting they ze French otters?

I'm wondering if that is about all there is left for them to eat. My mate thinks the pike and perch it used to have have been killed off by eutrophication (resulting from masses of goose poop). There were at least some sticklebacks, but maybe not enough to sustain 2 or possibly 3 otters for very long. There were ducks and other waterfowl when they arrived, but they all scarpered when they realised they were being attacked and eaten. The otter was doing a lot of crunching and chewing. I thought this was it trying to chew the spines off sticklebacks, but looking at the shots I got where you can see into its mouth, all I can see is black gunge?

DunsapieLoch15Dec20_6172.jpg


I wondered if they were having to resort to eating snails?

I'll see if I can find my mate's shot with a fish...

Col
 
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