Not an otter day!

Following yesterdays post there were a number of visitors throughout the day today, all very keen to see the otters that performed so obligingly yesterday… so of course they were not seen by anyone anywhere!

However, as a tantalising and tease for everyone who has missed out, like me, here are a couple of photographs that Roy Cowley managed to get of the female otter from Ivy North Hide yesterday afternoon – many thanks Roy (enjoy!):

Otter by Roy Cowley

Otter by Roy Cowley

Not content with one Roy managed to take a few pictures - these two were my favourites.

Not content with one Roy managed to take a few pictures – these two were my favourites.

So, knowing that I wasn’t going to see any today (I opened Ivy North Hide with bated breath this morning I can tell you!), I checked the traditional spraint site, and, sure enough, found more spraint and some very defined tracks. Because of the high water levels I know that these were fresh (hours old) as the river bank was underwater all of yesterday and will have been for much of last night!

The closest yet that I have managed to get to a wild British otter?!

The closest yet that I have managed to get to a wild British otter?!

Perhaps the family of otters has been displaced on to the reserve from the River Avon by high water levels? There is certainly plenty of water around both in the reserve and the valley itself.

High water levels in the Dockens Water

High water levels in the Dockens Water

Bob and I had reason to venture near the gate of the Ibsley Water access point from the “overflow” car park yesterday morning and I was astonished to see that the lake is so high now it is actually very close to a depth at which it will incorporate the car park – an increase in water of only a few inches is all that is needed. It has never been so high!

(Incidentally Tern Hide remained open, but accessible by wellies only again today, the car park remains closed. I visited Goosander Hide with a locksmith this morning and can report that he should be able to order in the necessary parts and fit them by the beginning of not this coming week, but the following week. In the meantime it remains closed. The door has received a small amount of damage, both to the door itself and the frame due to people forcing it open. Please don’t! There are two other hides which enable views of Ibsley Water, use them and do not do any further damage to the hide which could result in it being closed for longer than necessary. It may be frustrating, but we are doing what we can. Thank you.

And while I am “at it” can I please remind everyone to close the windows to the hides when you leave. Lapwing Hide was once again waterlogged this morning due to a window left open over night. )

High water levels in Ivy Lake (and perhaps otters!) also mean that bittern have not been seen over recent days and the great white egret is also noticeable by its absence.

The willows north of the education car park grow in what was once silt ponds for the gravel workings but they’ve been dry for some time now – until this winter that is! In ten years there has never been more than a puddle through here, but over Christmas there was a foot of water and although this dried out after this weeks rain in places there is now 3-4 inches of water again. I even saw a pond skater when wading through the other day!

An old silt pond, dried out for years - becoming more pond like again this winter

An old silt pond, dried out for years – becoming more pond like again this winter

 

 

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