Wednesday, November 9, 2022


Near the end of a 2½-mile loop through forest and field there’s a very large beaver pond. The lodge in the pond hasn’t shown any signs of being maintained this year and there’s no feed-bed (the beavers' winter food supply of fresh branches) in the water near the lodge. But the dam is still being maintained so the beavers may have constructed a new lodge elsewhere on the pond.

On this typically cloudy fall morning there were leaves falling from the trees and the colors of those leaves were the highlight of the morning’s walk. They were that is until I glanced at that beaver lodge, for on the lodge was what appeared to be an otter slide  

Hmm thought I, wouldn’t it be great if there were otters using the pond; 35 years ago there were no otters in northcentral Pennsylvania. A hundred feet further into my walk, out of the corner of my eye I saw a swirl in the water so I stopped and watched. Soon a head broke the surface, a beaver? No, this was no beaver – it was the head of an otter

River 0tters are very intelligent and inquisitive; the first wild otter I ever saw was about 50 years ago when H and I were canoeing near a beaver lodge on which there was an otter. It entered the water, swam toward the canoe and circled, all the while repeatedly rising high in the water to look at us. This animal did the same, swimming back and forth about 100 feet away and watching me all the time  

It too frequently rose up for a better view –

After I sat down on the dam the otter came closer as it kept a wary eye on me. It would occasionally playfully blow bubbles as it floated in the water –

After about 25 minutes it apparently realized I wasn’t a threat and relaxed enough to swim over to a good-sized stump and proceeded to climb on top –

The otter proceeded to make itself comfortable on what is called a “couch” or bed on the stump that it had constructed using water lily leaves and stems –

Apparently there was part of a fish on the stump which the otter ate as I watched –

Eventually the otter slipped back into the water and swam further out in the pond –

Otters use dens to sleep and rear their kits; the dens may be in a pile of logs and debris, in a burrow in a stream bank or in an abandoned beaver lodge perhaps this one. The next day I went back with a better telephoto lens and spent hours sitting in the same spot but the only thing of interest that appeared was a male belted kingfisher on a distant snag –

It’s a big pond and otters often travel widely, so ...


Kim S. said...

Great discovery! Love otter curiosity, and the Kingfisher was an excellent spot as well - a favorite bird of mine. I've never made a good photo of a Kingfisher; they're always on the move in my world in NW PA. Kim in PA

Marcia said...

Can't say I've ever seen an otter.
We enjoyed our visit to Eagles Mere a couple of weeks ago. Oaks were lovely and golden. Mist/fog was heavier than we expected but it's a beautiful spot and one we plan to return to in warmer weather someday. The Inn there was marvelous as was their restaurant.

eileeninmd said...

Very cool sighting of the otter, great photo series too.
I love the Kingfisher too! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post.
Have a wonderful day and great new week!