Like a Puppy on a string…

We do have quite a bit to report today. The Badger cam turned up an astonishing creature that I really didn’t expect to see, I will show you that in a little bit.

Fizz is on a bit of string for a reason and it’s not just because I lost her lead, I am keeping her out of trouble today.

But first, our first butterfly of 2015.

Small TortoiseshellIt has been hibernating in my flat. It was quite sunny yesterday and I guess the poor little thing thought that spring had arrived.

I had exactly the same thing last year with the same species waking up in February. I kept the curtains shut in my bedroom to keep the sun out and it went back to sleep. I let it go in March.

I have given this one a good book to read and sent it back to bed.

Small TortoiseshellThis is last year’s stowaway.

Small TortoiseshellI was out searching for wildflowers this morning and I found this one.

Common-field SpeedwellI found two of them in flower. This is Common–field Speedwell. There is so much that isn’t in flower that should be but I wasn’t expecting this oneΒ until March.

Common-field SpeedwellSo another nice surprise πŸ™‚

Common-field SpeedwellThey may not look like much at the moment but in the summer they will look like this.

Common-field SpeedwellThe third nice surprise was that the Mallards are back.

Well the drake is, no sign of the female yet.

MallardShe will be here soon. They breed on our ponds but last year she didn’t nest here. That was a shame I would have loved ducklings on the pond.

MallardFor the next couple of months they will strut about the garden as if they own the place. It is nice to have them here.

Mallard

MallardSo what has Fizz been up to?

FizzWell yesterday I said that I would take her for a picnic.

FizzShe announced it on Facebook and all sorts of rabble turned up.

Gatecrashers

Gatecrashers

Gatecrashers

Gatecrashers

GatecrashersIt’s all gone Pete Tong!

Next is a little video that I made yesterday. This little bird sings for me every day and I always want to remember this.

That brings us to the mystery animal, this is the last thing that I expected to see up there.


The mystery is not what it is but what is it doing up there?

The only water around is the stream that feeds the pond the ducks are on. That is only a couple of feet wide and nearly three quarters of a mile from Badger cam.

It is of course a European Otter, Lutra lutra. I am told it might be a dispersing juvenile but dispersing from where?

Could there be Otters breeding on our little stream out back of the farm? I doubt it. I don’t know anything about Otters, I really didn’t expect to see one here. It is an exciting mystery πŸ™‚

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68 thoughts on “Like a Puppy on a string…”

  1. The birdsong made my day. It’s so wonderful. The sheep just added to all of that and the flowers were beautiful. Then I got to see an Otter. I love them because they are fun and playful and enjoy life to the max. Fabulous post. Yay!

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    1. Thank you GIgi πŸ™‚ The birdsong is wonderful and I love the way that they fill my flat with music. It is a real pity that I can’t have all the windows open but it is still a bit chilly for that.

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  2. Sandy Shaw would love this. Barefoot probably. Still, better than Cliff Richard. Congratulations Colin on your Otter. Definitely a release by some Buddhists. An offering on the path to Nirvana (just south of Stroud, I believe). Or maybe Fizz off to a late night fancy dress party. Otterly enchanting.

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    1. Thank you Andrew πŸ™‚ Fizz was barefoot at the time of this production. The Otter was a wonderful surprise but a “fish out of water.” I think. I don’t expect to see him again unless I start baiting the camera with Mackerel.

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  3. Wow! On the basis of your other badger cam shots I guess the otter is about the same size as a badger or am I wrong? And thank you for the ducks. They are seriously my favourite animal. In Australia in shearing sheds the language can get a bit rough and over the years women were not always welcome in the shed. If one was seen approaching the call was always, “Ducks on the pond.” That was the signal to stop the swearing and filthy jokes.

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    1. Thanks John πŸ™‚ An Otter is comparable with a Badger. With that tail they can be quite a bit longer but not so stocky. It is quite a big animal and a male adult can reach four feet from nose to tail. “Ducks on the pond,” sounds like the title of a future post.

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  4. Now you have to investigate about the otter. She did invite people to the picnic on FB, so it’s no wonder all those sheep showed up. What a beautiful little bird, and the song they sing. Every one of your posts is a new pleasure to experience. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you RR πŸ™‚ Let us not forget Wolves πŸ™‚ Otters seem to be establishing themselves around the Forest of Dean area. There are not a lot of sightings of animals because of their nocturnal, aquatic nature but plenty of signs being reported.

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      1. Thanks Joy πŸ™‚ Sadly the Wolves have not arrived here yet. There is a young fellow called Paul Lister (heir to the MFI chain) who has bought 23,000 acres in Scotland. He plans to increase that to 50,000 acres, put a fence around it and release Bears, Wolves and Lynx. This is a brilliant plan. That is a lot of fence and it shouldn’t take long for the Bears and Wolves to get down here once they are released πŸ™‚

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      1. Don’t stress yourself πŸ™‚ I found out that we have some kind of butterfly-zoo in Switzerland. When I feel better I might visit them and send you pictures. I wish I was one of them, they’re so beautiful and special πŸ™‚

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  5. This is a real smiley post, I would always want to remember a robin singing too, it’s so heartening. How exciting to have an otter in the vicinity, I hope you are able to get more footage.

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    1. Thank you Julie πŸ™‚ I don’t think that the streams around here are big enough to support an Otter population, that one was just passing by and a lucky capture but it is something that I am still exploring. It is nice to see them about in the countryside.

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  6. Omg! an otter- amazing.
    A few years ago one of my dog-walking friends told me that he had watched an otter walk right past our cottage, on the way back to the nearby river, one morning. I thought it was a wind up, but no, he really saw one. I’ve found what I thought were otter prints on the riverbank, but to date have seen no otter. I live in hope. Lucky you.
    Love the robin, Fizz, ducks, sheep and flowers as well.

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  7. Loved the video of the robin! It made my heart kind of flitter, how lovely. Good to see things are happening, there. Life is good. Best, – Bill

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  8. Wow, an otter! I only ever saw one in the wild in the UK. Brilliant. You spring ups few surprises, a Bible reading small tortoiseshell. Excellent.
    By the way in my short time on Vancouver Island I found their species of otter pretty tolerant of humans, and very active at dusk. Nobody else in my group saw them but I probably saw 7-8 in a week.

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    1. Thank you Stephen πŸ™‚ I have never seen an Otter in the wild before. When I brought this video home I had a lot of trouble believing what I was seeing just because there is no river nearby. Well they do obviously travel some distances over land. It was a lucky capture.

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  9. Those sheep really know how to bust up a party πŸ˜‰
    What a great discovery on the cam – I think otters are curious and engaging creatures. And how wonderful that your shared your Robin’s song with us….it made my dreary winter day so much brighter! Thanks!

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  10. Even though our Mallards grace us with their presence year-round, I always love to see them, and your tiny little Robin (about 1/3 the size of our North American variety) sure sings a beautiful song. As for you mysterious guest, are you telling me, he shouldn’t otter be there? πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ I have just ordered six tubs of assorted Meal worms and Wax worms for that little Robin. I see trouble coming when the Swallows get back, it was always Rosa’s job to sing outside my window πŸ™‚

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  11. Oh, I am so glad I received you post. I laughed out loud when I saw who attended the picnic! Funny. I found the butterfly beautiful. And then,I saw ducks, heard beautiful birdsong that tugged at my heart, there were flowers and when I saw the otter I was in awe. Otters are just one of my favorites. Now we will hope for more otters and, of course, badger cubs. What a wonderful place you live.

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    1. Thank you Ettel πŸ™‚ I am so glad that you liked it. This is a wonderful place to live. Strangely I am very pleased that I no longer own my own house. I gave my share to my wife when we divorced two years ago. We could never have afforded to live in such a beautiful place but if you rent it opens up all sorts of options πŸ™‚

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  12. How exciting about the otters possibly breeding! What a beautiful video of the singing bird. How special to have such visits. I’d want to remember that too. It sounds like you may need to keep a reign on Fizz’s Facebook activity. You never know who may turn up at her parties next. It could be one of those uncouth Australians. πŸ˜‰

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  13. I couldn’t help but to read the comment of one of your readers that has been to Vancouver Island and had seen an Otter,I must say when I was young we lived beside the ocean (on Vancouver Island) and one day 2 Otters had a fresh kill of a Salmon up on rock, they seen me coming and chased me up the beach!
    Now that I live at the head of a Fiord we have both Ocean Otters and Fresh Water Otters, I have seen neither here but have heard many reports of people & dogs being bitten by the river Otters here on the river (on Vancouver Island), they are very aggressive ! The only friendly ones I’ve seen are in zoo’s/Aquariums!
    So be careful with Fizz and I hope yours doesn’t bother the ducks (if nesting, they will eat their eggs)! Sorry to be a downer!
    But we know Yours will be nice and not cause problems….:)
    PS…we have Crocus’s up already,I must photograph them and post!!
    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ Otters are not a problem here. We nearly wiped them all out back in the 1950’s, we polluted our rivers with pesticides that killed the fish and the Otters. They are making a come back now but people very rarely see them, even Otter watchers generally only find tracks and spraints to show that they are around. Catching one on camera was absolutely brilliant.

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    1. Thank you Heather πŸ™‚ It could be that there are Otters living nearby. I am being pushed by my neighbours now to put the trail camera out and find them. So water watching next πŸ™‚

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