Hebridean Otters

by Andrew Wakefield June. 01, 2017 1145 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 19 comments, add yours!
Juan Y Emma Gloyne 4 days, 4 hours ago

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

4 days, 4 hours ago Edited
Dany 1 week, 3 days ago

Photos magique de ces charmantes loutres.

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Dany 1 week, 3 days ago

Merci beaucoup Dany😀

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Dany Replied to Andrew Wakefield 1 week, 3 days ago

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

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Samresh Shrivastav 2 weeks ago

Brilliant work!!!

2 weeks ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Samresh Shrivastav 1 week, 3 days ago

Thanks Shamresh!

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Maura Elko 2 weeks, 2 days 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!

2 weeks, 2 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Maura Elko 1 week, 3 days 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!)

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Heike 3 weeks, 3 days ago

So many great nature shots. Bravo !

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Heike 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Thanks again Heike.

2 weeks, 6 days ago Edited
David Allen 3 weeks, 3 days ago

Great set of pictures.

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to David Allen 2 weeks, 6 days ago

Cheers David

2 weeks, 6 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to David Allen 1 week, 3 days ago

Cheers David

1 week, 3 days ago Edited
Caroline Hooper 3 weeks, 3 days ago

thank you for sharing these wonderful picturessmiley

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Caroline Hooper 2 weeks, 6 days ago

takes me back whenever I look at them! Thanks Caroline

2 weeks, 6 days ago Edited
Stephanie 3 weeks, 3 days ago

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

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Stephanie 3 weeks, 3 days ago

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

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Tim Rogers 3 weeks, 3 days ago

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

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
Andrew Wakefield Replied to Tim Rogers 3 weeks, 3 days ago

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

3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited
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