Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Postcard 15: Otters!

Top: Meeting 'otters' at the Moors Centre, Yorkshire
Middle: Plaque to Gavin Maxwell's Teko (Kyleakin, Skye), beneath a sculpture by Laurence Broderick
Bottom: Eilean B
n (under the Skye Bridge), lighthouse keeper's cottage & home of Gavin Maxwell

'Looking up the river, they could see Otter start up, tense and rigid,
from out of the shallows where he crouched in dumb patience,
and could hear his amazed and joyous bark as he bounded up through the osiers on to the path.'

The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame (chapter 7)

There is a buzz of excitement in South Wales at present as otters have been seen on Gower (AONB). An otter has also been caught on camera at Aberglasney in Carmarthenshire. I am hoping to see one before long! When I was on Skye last summer, I looked and looked. I think I saw a couple, but it was like looking for Nessie: it was hard to be sure. David definitely saw one on the beach.

Dr Gareth Parry from Swansea University was giving a talk about local otters (of Gower and Pembrokeshire) at the Science Café in the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea this evening. Unlike the otters in Scotland which can be seen during the day, the 'Welsh' otters tend to move around under cover of darkness. It seems that they may be adopting a 'marine lifestyle'. The Aberglasney otter must prefer the fresh-water oxbow lakes on the River Towy.

Professor P. Brain has posted a blog entry about Dr Dan Forman and the Gower otters. Back in 2005, naturalist, Iolo Williams was asking people to record their otter sightings in the Principality. I am delighted that their numbers seem to be on th increase.
My thanks to the Weaver of Grass for her comment below, and for reminding me about the Kathleen Raine link.


Crafty Green Poet said...

That's a lovely sculpture in your photo! I love otters and finally saw one swimming in the water between oban and the small island of Kerrerra last year! We were priveliged to be able to watch it for a while...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love that sculpture, Caroline. Ring of Bright water is one of my favourite books. Do you like poetry of Kathleen Raine, who was associated with Gavin Maxwell.
I have seen otter prints in Cardiganshire on the banks of the river Nefyn but have only ever seen the real thing in an Otter Sanctuary - beautiful animals.

Mistlethrush said...

What a fine sculpture! I read Ring if bright Waters a VERY long time ago - what did you guys make of the ending?
Lucky Gower getting otters - hope they're successful.

Mary said...

I love those big otters! What a neat sculpture!