Sunday, March 1, 2020

Mosaic Monday #69: You "Otter" See This!

Living remotely as we do, we risk complacency.  We might take for granted the forest, the lake, the majestic hills.  And then, it happens - a chance encounter reminds me we are blessed that wilderness still exists, and no further than our doorstep.

Two weeks ago, I bundled up for an extended walk in our "back yard".  I had no particular destination in mind; my goal was physical exercise and fresh air.  Given the snow, animal tracks are evident at this time of year, and often I will follow an intriguing game trail to see where it leads.  That day, I decided to skirt the edge of the lake at the bottom of our property.  It is shallow on the edges, and with ice thick enough to be safe, I can walk in areas that would normally be too marshy.

Can you see the dark brown spot in the middle of the photo?
As I wove through thickets of alder, with the frozen lake on my left, I spotted a patch of open water ahead.  Strange.  I moved closer and suddenly there was movement in the dried reeds - a solid brown body slid forward and into the water.  I automatically assumed beaver - I have written before about our dam-building buddies (here and here).  I retreated a bit and trained my binoculars on the spot where the critter had entered the water.  Within minutes, a whiskered nose emerged, followed by a glistening pelt and lengthy tail.  It was an otter!

February 19; 6.40 AM
I snapped some pictures and video with my phone, but none of it was satisfactory as you can see with the picture above.  I watched the otter for 10 - 15 minutes, and it spent the time rolling in the snow and cleaning its fur.  (I have since learned that North American river otters dry themselves and uphold the insulative quality of their fur by frequent rubbing and rolling on grass, bare ground and logs.)  When I could tear myself from the spectacle, I looked in the snow for tracks that might lead me to the den.  Sure enough, nearby was the tell-tale glide/pawprints/glide/pawprints pattern, ending at the mouth of a hole under a fallen tree.  I looked at the horizon and realized there would not be enough time to retrieve my trail cam and place it here.  Sigh.  It was a couple of days before I did so, and it was torture to wait several more days before retrieving the disk.  But so worth it!  As you can see in the photo above, the trail cam started delivering photos right away.  

The trail cam captured other pictures between February 20 and 25, but they are blurred or not the best angle.  As you can see from the time stamps, this "fellow" is an early riser!  It is interesting that the trail cam has not documented the otter returning to the den (the den is to the right in all of these photos, so it would seem that these are pictures of the otter leaving the den.)  I might shift the camera angle in the future to get shots of the hole itself.  So far, the picture below is the only one in "daylight".

You may be wondering if this is always the same otter - in other words, might there be a pair, and can we expect kits?  You will find out when I do!  (I have read that adult females move and den alone from mid-winter through the breeding season.)  The trail cam did not capture any pictures of the otter between February 25 and the afternoon of February 27, the last time I retrieved the disk.  So it was worrisome to see this as one of the final pictures on the disk:
But rest easy, my friends, I could see the otter in the grass near the open water - it is alive and well!  I am beside myself with joy to know that this marvelous creature is our neighbor.  In my reading, I learned that otters are quite particular about their habitat, and their presence indicates good water quality.  Somehow its residence comforts me, a sign of something that is still wild, pure and natural.  It reminds me of why we came to Montana, and rekindles my passion to preserve our little slice of wild for future generations.
Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

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41 comments:

  1. Good evening, I'm surprised, what wonderful scenes there are in the night. I enjoyed your Post, dear Angie.

    Happy MosaicMonday

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  2. ...it's to take common things that surround us for granted, the best solution is to make them special! Thanks Angie for hosting.

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  3. Otters are so much fun to watch. Years ago we lived on the river and once a year the otters would show up, play in the small lake/reservoir and play for about a week and then they'd be gone.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

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  4. How special is that!! So good to see the wonderful wild animals on your photos. Says good things about your water quality too! It is wonderful you are preserving the land for the future. Little reminders like this are what we need now and then. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. How wonderful!! Thanks for sharing your snaps. 😊 Kit

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  6. Oh Angie, that is just wonderful! Otters are the best, most fun animals to watch. They are so playful... you just have to smile when you see them! We’ve been lucky enough to observe both sea and river ones a few times over the years... it’s wonderful that you have (a pair?) in your own yard! What a great thing to catch on your trail cam!

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  7. How cool you have an otter family living nearby, we hope they don't mind the camera!

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  8. I like your Montana!!! I do enjoy visiting there!

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  9. An otter for a neighbor! So very cool, Angie. And she's so pretty. I want to think that she's a she and she'll have babies. :-) In my world of rural-in-transition-to-overdevelopment, I'm happy to see a squirrel scramble along the top of the back fence.

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  10. Lucky lucky you. We have a beaver in the creel at the back of our property and now a lake and out back pasture is getting flooded. I will read about your Beaver tales or Tails---LOL
    MB

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  11. Otters in the wild - wonderful. Looking forward to more wildlife/otter pictures in you future posts. Thank you for your 69th Mosaic Monday Angie.
    Joy

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  12. It's always a thrill to see wildlife and I enjoyed these photos of your otter! What interesting and fun animals they are.
    There is a walking path along the South Platte River, not far from where I live, and a talented photographer is always sharing photos of the beavers and muskrats she captures that live along the river. I learned that there are clams in the water and they love to swim down to pick them up and bring them ashore and eat them!

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  13. A lot is happening during the night there! I see why all this is so thrilling. Thank you for hosting, have a lovely week.

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  14. Hello Angie, it is a treat to see the otters in the wild. You do live in an area that is great for wildlife sightings. Cute captures of the otters, they are adorable. I hope the otters have a family, that would be awesome. Thanks for hosting. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

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  15. How delightful, Angie! It is always with awe that I look at the marvellous forms of wildlife and the stunning beauty of nature. You are indeed blessed to be living in such a wonderful place!

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  16. An otter! How cool. I love the way they move.

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  17. PS: Thank you for hosting and have a great weeek!

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  18. I enjoyed your adventure! I love otters. Our water isn't open, here, but they appeared in fall.

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  19. The Colorado wilderness is disappearing as more and more people move here, all wanting to hike, bike, ski, and more in the beautiful mountains, leaving their mess behind. Traffic getting the hills (as my grandmother used to call them), makes it impossible to get where we want to go--where we used to like to go, so I totally understand why you live where you do, finding solitude and peace away from the city rush. And what fun to watch the otters and other wildlife that visit the game cam.

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  20. How fun! I'm hoping to see otters here in Florida too. I haven't posted any trail cam footage in awhile. Always cool to see what turns up.

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  21. awe, that was exciting. I'm amazed an otter can even survive in that kind of cold winter, having seen them in California waters. Eeek, the wolf who also wants to survive. Cool to have a camera to catch those moments

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  22. How wonderful that you spotted this creature and could capture it's movements on a trail cam. So very cool. They are such interesting creatures and so graceful in the water. Happy March to you!

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  23. We in Australia were reminded vividly in January when half the country seemed to be burning, how precious our wildlife and wilderness was. I take the opportunities I can to walk in our bushland. Have a lovely week and thank you again for the link up.

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  24. Beautiful photos. Our winter is so much milder than yours, we never get any snow.
    Amalia
    xo

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  25. Awesome! I would love to get photos of an otter!

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  26. How lovely to see an otter in the wild!

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  27. i would live where you do in a heartbeat. as much as i love people and being in a community, i would LOVE to be secluded in the woods among nature and wild animals!! it does not sound like you will ever take it for granted!!

    i enjoyed seeing the otter and other wild animals, your trail cam is just wonderful, picking up some great action!! you are so lucky to call this place home!!

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  28. What awesome nature shots and such a beautiful place you live ~ Nature is so giving and lovely ^_^

    Happy Moments to You,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  29. It’s a particular thrill when I see an otter too. I could sense your excitement Angie. And to discover a den must be an added bonus. Otters breed not far from here now and it’s fair to say that this has happened thanks to a clean-up of our waterways coupled with a number of introductions. Otters do have a definite magic about them so thanks for sharing your news and pictures. I hope you find and see those kits.

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  30. I feel the same when we are up the lake at the cabin. This year has been bittersweet. I love all of our RV travel, but I also love being up the lake in all seasons. Life does change, so maybe that's not a bad thing. Summer will be here soon and lake life will become a more important part of our life. - Margy

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  31. What a spectacular post. Otters are animals that I have seen only in zoos. I have hiked in Yellowstone and the Tetons near lakes that are said to have them in residence but have never spotted one.
    Your trail cam photos are wonderful. Yes, you picked a great place to live. Keep us informed of what happens with "your" otters.

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  32. Hello Angie,
    What a good sighting of the otter. Your trail cam captures some great images. We often see river otters near the ocean, too, and on the trails on some of the small islands we visit by boat.
    Nature is so full of wonder! Living near and interacting with it is something I'm thankful for, and like you, want to protect it.

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  34. What a fabulous part of the world you live in with all the snowy excitement! Thanks for sharing your photos and info about the otters. They are such quirky little creatures :)


    Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

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  35. Of all the creatures I have encountered during a lifetime spent observing nature River Otters have thrilled me about as much as any. Before I met Miriam I lived farther north on fifty acres and had a family of otters on my property. I set a chair down by the section of the creek where I saw them often, and spent many happy hours in their company.

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  36. It's really special that you have a river otter close by. The cam caught some wonderful photos. You get to enjoy lots of nature and wildlife where you live and that is awesome.
    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day.

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  37. Wow, Angie, that was an impressive report of our wild friend. For a moment , I was worried if the jackal did something to our otter. I must say this is a beautiful piece of writing that kept me in the edge of my seat. You were successful in maintaining the anxiety till the end of the article. Once again thank you Angie!! That was the best blog I have read so far today.

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  38. Hey Angie, enjoyed reading this. And, there are too many awesome scenes you are surrounded with. It is surely entertaining. The title was intriguing and gave it a read. You have captured the otters really well on a snowy day. They are of funny kind, really enjoy watching them roll around.

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  39. The trail cams offer some interesting views.

    I've seen otters here in our cottage country on occasion. They are fun to watch, but tough to photograph.

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  40. Simply wonderful, great post.

    All the best Jan

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