Ian says…… Pauline and Joan dropped me off on the stretch of the Lune upriver from the M6 motorway bridge at about 8.15am. The water was so calm it was easy to see any disturbance on the surface for at least 200m provided the bank side vegetation didn’t get in the way. I worked my way down river, pausing at intervals to scan both the water and any banking I thought might be suitable for otters to rest up on. As I passed under the motorway bridge I could hear a Kingfisher calling close by but the first thing I saw was it darting off the bank just in front of me. As I watched it disappear into the distance a ripple on the far side caught my attention and seconds later an otter surfaced quickly followed by a second. I watched them fish as they slowly worked their way down river keeping close to the far bank. As they turned back they were joined by a third but the newcomer soon diverted away from them and started to work towards me. I stood motionless and held my breath as it swam past me about a quarter of the way midstream before coming to the edge and climbing up on to a tree that had long since fallen in the water. It knew I was there and a couple of seconds later it was back in the water and swimming and diving quickly away from me. I made my way back up river catching up with the other two under the M6 bridge. One had caught a large fish and headed to the far side before struggling to drag the fish out of the water and onto a small ledge covered in ivy. It was quickly joined by the second otter and they both ate for a good ten minutes or so. Both then worked their way under the bridge and one saw a squirrel very low down in a tree. The otter stood upright and tried to reach the squirrel, couldn’t and so climbed on to the lower branches but of course the squirrel was away before the otter could get anywhere near! I spent the next few hours walking up and down and down and up before finally reaching the ‘Crook-O-Lune car park where Joan and Pauline were waiting. I had managed a few shots but unfortunately the light was poor for most of the time so even with a high ISO and low depth of field images weren’t what I would have liked – there’s always next time!
Pauline say’s: ….. After dropping Ian at the Lune, Joan and I carried on to our caravan bird table and found it two thirds empty after only seven days since the last big top-up! We refilled the table yet again, unfroze the drinking bird bath, cleaned and refilled with fresh water and then sat and watched the birds getting back to feeding and especially taking and storing – two nuthatches and many coal tits were making frequent dizzying visits! I had to laugh at the coal tits helping themselves straight out of the peanut bucket as I was filling the feeders! I carried the small bucket of peanuts back to the car, putting it down at my feet to rearrange the boot and when I looked down there was a coal in the bucket choosing which nut to take completely oblivious to me towering over it! Joan said ‘Be careful when you put the lid on, that there isn’t a coal tit still in there!’ ….. From the caravan we visited Leighton Moss and bought gloves, socks and a new hat! (I’d put my outdoor boots in the car but no socks!) The water on the reserve was high and frozen so we called in at Sizargh scattered some sunflower and had our butties while a female bullfinch appeared among the other regulars chaffs and blackbirds. Then it was off to South Lakes to photograph Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi. Finally we landed back at the Crook-o-Lune to pick up the ‘otter watcher’ and set off for home via the ‘owls’ where his nibs was on a roll and extracted a few more owl shots despite the sun - that had been out while driving - suddenly disappearing the minute we had an owl in front of us – typical!