Sunday, 24 February 2013

Black-bellied Dipper & Otters at Thetford

After a marathon 500+ mile day trip to Somerset and Devon yesterday, today was going to be a rest day. But after Robert is told about Otters being seen on the river at Thetford and the fact that he had never seen an Otter in the wild, he is very keen to make the trip today.
So after collecting him at 6.30am this morning, we set off towards Thetford. On route we get views of a Barn Owl perched on a roadside post. 5-6 Buzzards are also seen along with two Muntjac Deers close to the road and a Hare is also seen.

On arrival at the site we meet a guy who asks us if we are down for the dipper. When we reply that we are there more for the Otters today, he tells us that he has just got some information as to where they may be.
So we head off along the footpath in his company and soon find a birder with bins trained on a channel a short distance away.


The channel looks empty at first, but then there are ripples in the water and two Otters appear. They seem to  be playing, as they twist and turn in the water. 
The light is very poor and photo taking is not going to be high on the agenda for me. Robert can't believe he's  actually watching Otters right in front of him.
As we watch the Otters a Kingfisher drops in and lands on a nearby branch. A very welcome bonus year tick. 
One of the Otters emerges from the channel and proceeds to swim upstream. We follow as it swims all the way  upstream and under the bridge and back down the other channel.
We lose sight of it as it moves into the riverside vegetation, so we head back towards our starting point only to spot the second Otter coming upstream. It swims past us no more than 4-5 feet away and proceeds to take exactly the same route as the other Otter had done.
It reaches the bridge and as Robert is standing bankside it swims over and half emerges from the water to within two feet of him.
A fantastic sight for all of us, but especially for Robert being his first sightings of wild Otters.

It would be rude not to see if the Black-bellied Dipper was showing, so with that in mind we head across the bridges and  spot it straight away in the far channel.

Again the light is terrible but a few photos are taken before it flies into the first channel and then moves further away and flies up the nearby channel and under the bridge.

A morning Otter watching with an added bonus of a Black-bellied Dipper and a Kingfisher thrown in. 

A superb weekend.

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