Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jan-July 2017, Mallard/Pintail Hybrid, Bittern, Otter Encounter, Red-breasted Sapsucker

This blog focuses mainly on an encounter Dian and I had July 17 2017 with an Otter.  The first few pictures are an eclectic collection of birds we have seen this year but have not yet found a theme for a blog to suit them.  So I will insert them here.
Mallard/pintail hybrid Jan 2017 Beacon Hill Park Victoria, BC.  We have probably observed a half dozen Mallard/Pintail hybrids in the last 20 years.  This was the first opportunity to obtain a reasonable photograph.

Buffleheads although plentiful are difficult to photograph because of the stark white plumage.  I captured some of the detail here.  Taken in March in Abbotsford.
I just like to see them landing.
Hooded Merganser Feb 2017.  Wilband Ponds, Abbotsford.
American Bittern Mar. 2017 Wilband Ponds, Abbotsford, BC.  
Northern Shrike Feb 28 2017 Wilband.  Shrikes are difficult to approach but this young one let me get a few shots before it flew.  It was snowing that day.
Red-breasted Sapsucker June 25 2017.  This bird was gathering insects among a throng of beach goers at Rolley Lake.  The young ones must have been nearby.
The star of this blog is a River Otter.
On July 17 Dian and I were hiking at our local Wilband Ponds here in Abbotsford.
This Otter was running down the trail towards us.  I told Dian not to move and I started snapping pictures.  I had no idea what the settings were on the camera as everything was happening pretty fast.
It knew we were there but kept coming-mouth wide open all the time.
It was getting more difficult for us to hold our position as it kept coming.
When it got to within 3-4 meters it stopped and retreated into the grass on the side of the trail.  We watched the tall grass move as it circled around us and we wondered if it would come back.  I can't say what was on the Otter's mind as it definitely saw us walking the trail.  Our other encounters with Otters have them fleeing as they engage us but this one seemed intent on intimidation.  There have been a few reports of Otter attacks but these have been in water where people were swimming.  Otters are territorial so we may have been infringing on its territory-it may have had young nearby but I doubt this, as we would have expected young to be in, or near water and it didn't return to where it had come from. I think it may have merely been intent on travelling to another area and we were in its way.  The grass on either side was 2 meters high and very thick so it was probably looking for a spot where it could enter and get off the trail.   One thing for sure, it didn't look friendly.

End of this blog.  
Scroll down for previous blog.


  1. As working with salmon i can assure you they attack on land and sometimes totally unprovoked but usually it's when they feel cornered , have young or have food. The best thing is never to corner an otter one of my supervisors didn't know he had cornered one until it was too late and he had to fight the other off him . They aren't happy and can be quite aggressive when we try to take them away from the salmon that they come up to steal. They can do serious damage with their large sharp teeth especially the large musky males. Glad this ended well standing your ground was good he knew you weren't a threat worth taking on too big and you weren't scared. Their cute faces are deceptive so people should always give them the respect and space they deserve. Good job.