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?|
|February 19; 6.40 AM|
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.
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