This photograph of three river otters emerging from the water at Delaney won first place in the Stow Conservation Trust’s 2010 photo contest.
Many people are surprised to learn that there are otters at Delaney. I was, too, the first time I found otter scat there. In the last two years, however, I’ve come to appreciate that otters are frequent visitors and make use of the entire Delaney shoreline. The more I look, the more I find the tell-tale plops of fish scales left behind by otters on the banks of Delaney’s main reservoir and along the streams and wetlands that feed it. (If your dog ever starts rolling around in ecstasy, and comes back smelling like a dead fish, that’s another good sign you’ve found otter scat!)
The spot where this photo was taken is unremarkable, and I would have walked right past it 9 out of 10 times. But one day I was walking the shoreline, and noticed a small patch of ground that didn’t have autumn leaves on it. That tipped me off that animals might be coming in and out of the water here. Over the next few weeks I captured images of raccoons and beaver visiting the spot. And on the morning of November 19th, these three river otters emerged from the water and posed together for the camera.
These three river otter have just emerged from the water. Otter will haul out along a stream bank or at the edge of a wetlands, sometimes taking an overland shortcut to their next fishing hole.
Otter travel together, and this family will hunt together for frogs, mussels, and fish at Delaney before moving to a new location.