Skip to content



Tag Archives: mink

I’ve travelled up and down the stunning west coast of the Scottish Highlands hoping to see otters in the wild. Been to some far off and remote places armed with local knowledge and binoculars. But I never managed more than a fleeting “possible” sighting way off shore (probably a seal).

So, to say I was surprised to accidentally find one literally at the end of my street when I got home to Edinburgh is a massive understatement! I went down to the Water Of Leith one night to try (and fail) to get a photo of the bats down there when an otter swam along and passed not 10 feet from me, under the street lights. This was around May 2010.

I spent many nights over the subsequent summer months down there, waiting to see it at 4 or 5am sometimes, until the severe cold weather got the better of me in the winter.  Aware of the limitations of my camera I managed a few shots but the need for flash photography made it a choice between watching her or photographing and possibly scaring her off. I was happy just watching. My last sighting was on Christmas day, surrounded by snow.

I kept looking as often as I could but with minus ridiculous temperatures my time there was limited. All I managed to see of note was a lonesome Jack Snipe. 

Then, early in 2011, the Water Of Leith flood defences started constructing their concrete monstrosities up AND downstream from the spot I watched the otters. I didnt see it again and thought it had probably relocated to somewhere more peaceflul……

APRIL 2011 Meantime, something else had been catching my eye on the same stretch of rver. The blue flash of the Kingfisher darting past like a scud missile was becoming more frequent. It seemed to be getting accustomed to the human activity nearby and was starting to sit still long enough to get a look at it. By the end of April it was there almost every day so I took Anthony from along with his 500mm zoom where he took these 2 beauties within 10 minutes of arriving! So much for Kingfishers being elusive, shy and nervy! I held his bike for both of those shots, so technically I took them (cough! cough!).

15th May 2011 Today my beloved, but awful, Football team got relegated so I took a stroll down to the river to cheer me up and see the, now very active, Kingfishers who are BOTH out feeding their chicks now when, right out of the blue I saw the familiar trail of bubbles on the surface of the water… OTTER!!…. And this time she was with a pup. I managed the below, pretty poor video of the pup before I got the “SD Card FULL” message. BUT… I’m pretty confident I now know where her holt is AND have a brilliant viewpoint that’s unlikely to disturb them, so fingers crossed I’ll get more tomorrow when I head back down with Anthony.

17th May 2011 Took the dog out for a late walk last night following the unsuccessful stakeout with @Wildedinburgh earlier. Lo and behold an otter appeared and swam alongside us for over 1km. A view which culminated in it catching a roach and eatig it on the bank opposite me for 10 minutes.

The crunching sound was incredible. I couldn’t help but think 0f Terry Nutkins’ fingers at the time! I had no camera, just my phone so the below grainy footage is the best I could do.

Tags: , , , , , , ,