Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stewartby Lake

Just after dawn each morning this week you'll have found me wandering around the eastern side of Stewartby Lake. I've been on a mission to see the Otter that has been reported a couple of times over the last few months by walkers and members of the Sailing Club. So far my journeys have proved fruitless sighting-wise, so I can see that I’m going to have to try arriving just before dawn! I've picked up a number of clues to the Otter's presence, though. This is some Otter spraint that I found on a Willow root next to the water.

But there are also Mink around. This is a Mink scat that I came across. It’s got the fishy smell reminiscent of Otter spraint….but a lot more besides, which makes it none too pleasant odour-wise!

This tree had fallen over the water’s edge. You can just make out the claw marks on the side of the trunk. I reckon that this is one of the points where the Otter leaves the water.

When I made my way round to the base of the tree, my suspicions were confirmed when I found several large scales and fish remains on top of the fallen trunk. It looks like a large fish was consumed here at some point in the not-too-distant past.

Then, this morning, I came across the remains of this fish close to the tree. I hadn’t noticed it before now….which is surprising because it’s not a tiddler! It’s a large carp – I measured it at about half a metre long! I’m pretty sure a Mink wouldn’t be able to catch this and, then, lug it out of the water!

Here are more remains…a member of the Crow family this time. The culprit could be an otter (it was close to the water’s edge), but I wonder if it might have been a fox. Notice how the quills have been bitten through.

Other highlights from the last few days include these two Common Lizards, which I found hibernating under a large piece of rubber.

And this female Muntjac. Although the photo is not very good I was quite pleased to get it because I’d spent some time stalking this individual in order to get the opportunity.

And, last but not least, there are plenty of these around!

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