One of the greatest wildlife watching days to date occurred today in the beautiful setting of the Laune river, co Kerry. It was the day when I witnessed my first wild otter in Ireland.
The beautiful sunshine and lack of fish had led me to a quiet moment on the bank in my deck chair. Suddenly my eyes caught the movement of a wake of water heading across the Laune. Grabbing my glasses I managed to catch a glimpse of a sleek back sliding out into the bank. Like that the otter was gone. I couldent believe my eyes. I doubted what I had just seen as trick of the new spring sunlight
I dropped the fishing gear and scoped out the bank and was able to discern a couple what I think were otter access points in the far bank.
I decided to investigate at closer quarters. Heading back over the bridge I entered the fossa way and was walking with purpose along the man made walkway when there was a disturbance in the water beside me. To my disbelief there was an otter who I had inadvertently disturbed from fishing amongst the tangle of flooded branches. The otter swam out of the channel lopping up and down and blowing out those distinctive bubbles that I had heard about on spring watch and read about in books. I manage to fumble some photos before the supine shape disappeared from sight.
Exhilarated I searched the water to no avail. Had I seen the last if the otter? To see an otter in broad daylight is rare and I felt immensely privelage do to witness this.
I crossed at the bridge and following a hunch that only nature lovers will understand, I walked back up to the spot that on the previous day I had found old otter spraint. Suddenly a splashing broke the silken silence if the stream. In the distance and otter was attacking a large fish which I presume must be a salmon. The thrashing and bashing went on for about a minute. Tail and head flew in and out of the water. Eventually all went silent. The otter had a substantial feast and I had an equal feast of nature that can be said to be once in a lifetime event. Wondrous.