Hebridean Otters

by Andrew Wakefield June. 01, 2017 4105 views

Whenever I am asked what got me into wildlife photography in the first place, I have no trouble in answering. If ever there was a seminal moment, this was it. In June 2014, at the time of the (first?!!) Scottish Independence Referendum, I was on a cycle touring trip with my dad on the west coast of Scotland, mainly on the island of Mull, but also taking in the Ardnamurchan and Knoydart, and a few of the Inner Hebridean Islands.

We were on a daytrip out of Oban on the CalMac ferry to Tiree, the outermost Island of the Inner Hebrides. As we cycled round a bend into a small bay I spotted a pair of otters out on the rocks.

Himself

Himself

They were fishing and bringing the catch of velvet swimming crabs back on shore to devour. This was a real photo opportunity, but I was mindful of the fact that I mustn't disturb them.

My tactic was to creep slowly forwards when they were out in the water, then stop when they came ashore. That way I got quite close, and wedged between two rocks and tucked out of sight, I got some great shots of them.

The pair enter the water to go fishing

The pair enter the water to go fishing

Eventually they slipped away and disappeared. For me it remains one of the most amazing animal encounters I have had to this day. What a privilege to have been able to do this. It still gives me goosebumps when I recall it.

Emerging from the waves with a prize!

Emerging from the waves with a prize!

Tasty!

Tasty!

Himself again

Himself again

The lady

The lady

worn canines - he is probably an old boy

worn canines - he is probably an old boy

This is the effect of getting a crab claw stuck half way down!

This is the effect of getting a crab claw stuck half way down!

And on another note: This was nature in the raw. Proper wild. Otters are always full of character and energy, but just look at the spirit and intensity in these animals. The struggle for existence is writ large in their facial expressions. You simply don't get that in the captive situation, and I will show you what I mean in my next blog.

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There are 20 comments , add yours!
Bill Baird 3 years, 11 months ago

Outstanding photography !!

3 years, 11 months ago Edited
Jan Sea 4 years, 1 month ago

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Dany 4 years, 1 month ago

Photos magique de ces charmantes loutres.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Dany 4 years, 1 month ago

Merci beaucoup Dany😀

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Dany Replied to Andrew Wakefield 4 years, 1 month ago

De rien,
Je suis comme vous, car j'aime la vie sauvage ainsi que la nature.
Bonne continuation à vous.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Samresh Shrivastav 4 years, 1 month ago

Brilliant work!!!

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Samresh Shrivastav 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Shamresh!

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Maura Elko 4 years, 1 month ago

Wow these are great captures! I just started getting into photographing wildlife with getting a longer lens for myself, and it really is great fun! Being able to capture images like this is so rewarding. I love the otter photo with the crab in it's mouth!

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Maura Elko 4 years, 1 month ago

Hope you have fun with your new long lens Maura. If you just get out there and sit quietly in a natural, quiet place, the wildlife will come to you! Best of luck ( you need a bit of that too!)

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Heike 4 years, 1 month ago

So many great nature shots. Bravo !

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Heike 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks again Heike.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
David Allen 4 years, 1 month ago

Great set of pictures.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to David Allen 4 years, 1 month ago

Cheers David

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to David Allen 4 years, 1 month ago

Cheers David

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Caroline Hooper 4 years, 1 month ago

thank you for sharing these wonderful picturessmiley

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Caroline Hooper 4 years, 1 month ago

takes me back whenever I look at them! Thanks Caroline

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Stephanie 4 years, 1 month ago

What a wonderful set of photos! Thank you for sharing this magical interlude with photoblog communitysmile

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Stephanie 4 years, 1 month ago

Thanks Stephanie - glad you enjoyed it. More stuff in the pipeline.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Tim Rogers 4 years, 1 month ago

Great captures, love the one of the otter about to snack on a crab

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Tim Rogers 4 years, 1 month ago

Cheers Tim. Yes the crab shot is my fave too.

4 years, 1 month ago Edited
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