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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is going to be a rather long winded thread with a number of pictures, it would take me hours and hours to describe how fantastic this trip was and the enjoyment I got out of the numerous close up encounters with wildlife... and even then I’m not sure it would justify the reality! In this thread I will cover just the otters as there is a fair amount of content for just them alone!

To see the images at full size etc visit my flickr photostream, i will be uploading the pictures there shortly!
Flickr: AlexEames' Photostream

So I begin, several weeks prior to the trip I did a fair bit of research on the best locations to see the wildlife I was interested in seeing such as otters, eagles and deer. However I don't think any amount of internet research (even speaking to others that have visited the area) is as good as some old fashion reconnaissance on the island.

By far my favourite encounters of the trip were the otters; mull is arguably the best place in Britain to see wild otters. With the right knowledge of locations it’s possible to see otters from the car whilst they hunt for butterfish 20-30 meters off shore but with patience and planning you may be lucky enough to see one of these beautiful creatures up close and personal.

The first "big" sighting of otters was on Wednesday when we went down to a spot we had seen them consistently throughout the week, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect as within an hour of our arrival the dog otter we had been watching was joined by a neighbouring female. I had positioned myself right on the shoreline behind some large rocks... when the 2 otters met we weren’t sure what their reaction would be to each other, much to our amusement they began playing in amongst the kelp and bounding across the rocks. At one point the female came across the water from the island they were playing on, onto the rocks in front of me... so close that the long lens was unable to focus... literally within feet of me... after a minute or so of scratching she was alerted by the shutter on the camera to my presence, gave me a shocked look and just carried on playing with the dog otter in the way in front of me.







This pair carried on courting on and off throughout the week until Friday, this time we had seen them from the car so I hopped out and skedaddled down through some ferns as far down the as possible while remaining downwind and out of sight. Little did I know I was sat just a few meters away from the dog otters Holt.... series of the pair running up the beach:





My favourite otter encounter of the week happened just 100 meters from our hotel! The previous morning I had spotted a female otter hunting along the shore near the hotel and had gone down to photograph her, unfortunately only being able to move while she was submerged I was unable to beat her to the bay where her holt was situated and didn’t manage to catch up with her in time to get a good view... so Friday morning I got up at 5.15am walked down to the shore and got myself comfy on a rock with the beanbag and camera and waited, after 45 minutes or so I spotted her about 700 meters down the shore hunting butterfish, she gradually made her way towards me over the course of the next 90 minutes or so and finally made her way into the bay.

She got to about 20 meters away and then disappeared underwater, I thought I had blown it and she had caught my sent, after an anxious 40 seconds she appeared right in front of me only 4/5 meters away and sat there looking at me from the water, she didn’t seem at all concerned with my presence once she had checked me out and proceeded to climb out of the water and walk right past me over the rocks up the shore and into some long grass where her holt appeared to be situated!






One of my favourite shots of this same otter as she approaching in the morning sun



I would strongly recommend a visit to mull to see these beautiful and most charismatic of creatures.

Just a note, on all of these pictures the otters have approached me in a location that i have waited in, you should never approach the otters as its easy to disturb them.

Hope you enjoyed

Alex
 

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Wonderful set of pics. Thanks : victory:
 

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very nice pictures.

so can anyone tell me, these are ordinary british otters hunting in the sea and not sea otters, yes. i know they don't look like sea otters from america
 

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Brilliant!

I too have always wanted to see a wild otter in Britain, otters are my favourite animal, lucky you !

I saw the White Tailed Sea Eagles over in Mull last year unbelievable when you see them in the flesh as it were... (Notice they were on BBC2 last night as well........:2thumb:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Replied to you PM big red one, also replied to other PM's even if you didnt reply on here.

Yes i saw that last night, Gordon Buchanan has to be one of my favourite wildlife cameramen.

On this same trip to mull one flew across a field moving from a tree to one where the nest would have been earlier in the year and the size of it was just immense. We saw a lot of golden eagles too this time.

Hen harriers were showing well while we were there although at a distance too great for even a 500mm lens.

vogelport: We did Staffa the previous time we went for puffins, however august is too late in the year for the seabird colonies as they have all gone back to sea. Staffa 3 years ago was the first time i used a DSLR.

tomwilson: these are the same otters, which are now found in every county in england :2thumb:. European otter Lutra lutra.

forever20one: the coastal otters have a very different behaviour pattern to otters i've watched in devon. while morning is still the best time to watch them they are active periodically throughout the day. River otters tend to be almost completely nocturnal, although i watched them just before dusk in devon.

Thanks for the kind comments, i intend to do mull again next year.. although i have a few other trips in mind before then!
 
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