Thursday, August 21, 2008

Early Paddling
This Monday through Wednesday, I have been out on the river at 7AM, paddling up one of my favorite back-waters in Old Saybrook. Monday had many nice surprises but Wednesday was the winner!

As I had checked my spot for Least Bitterns and all but given up, I decided to paddle all the way to the back of the 118-acre marsh and give it one more shot in some great habitat with towering cattails and wild rice making the passage look like a chapter out of African Queen. I followed a Great Blue Heron for abut a half mile, often getting within 20 feet or so without the bird minding at all. A Solitary Sandpiper was very cooperative, allowing me to take a few photos and listen to its plaintive call.

As I approached the inner reaches, I had a brief look at something splashing in the water just ahead of the Great Blue Heron. Whatever it was, it moved off just our of sight around the next corner. I rounded the corner and not more than 30 feet away was a River Otter looking at me; I looking at him. For 20 seconds I enjoyed a great look at this elusive predator, making his living in a remote marsh, not upset that few took notice. This was only the second time I have seen otter in Connecticut. I have seen them a few times in Florida. They are such characters, always on the move, exploring, and sticking their sweet little faces into everything. Truly special creatures of Mother Earth!

If you want to join me in October 2009, we can share an audience with the Giant River Otter in Brazil! Now there's a sight!