What a dream week! I still get chills when I think of my very first real encounter with an absolutely fascinating animal, the river otter (Lontra canadensis). I have been hoping for several years to be able to observe them for a longer period of time and analyze their rather unique behavior, but they are very nomadic and discreet in general. The warm temperatures of the last few weeks have created Spring-like conditions in some places, and I suspected that they might be more active with more accessible open water. Without being 100% convinced, I still hit the road to adventure!
Let's say that I was not disappointed... I had the privilege of being able to photograph three different individuals over five days. Sometimes only a few minutes after waiting more than 10 hours, other times for more than a full hour!! As I said... a dream!
The first evening, after a long day of hiking and exploring, it was this magnificent individual who gave me the incredible opportunity to observe him fishing and moving along the entire length of the river. Sliding in the snow, marking its territory, catching fish and frogs, striking a pose on the ice, I had a rather unexpected evening; I was so, so happy! The kind of moment in which I could have not taken pictures and been just as satisfied. A unique proximity with a river otter is quite a privilege.
Needless to say, the next day, 1 hour before sunrise, I was there, ready to relive those wonderful moments. As is often the case with wildlife, it is impossible to predict their period of activity, and it took more than 10 hours before seeing another otter emerge from under the ice, for only a few minutes! Patience is essential in nature photography...
During these long hours of waiting, you have to take this opportunity to analyze the scene and imagine photos and scenarios. Otters sometimes use old beaver huts as burrows and this was the case for two of the three. Before even seeing them, it was possible to guess by the large amount of tracks present, the markings and the traces of numerous and fresh glides, on the hut. However, it took me three days to see them on the actual hut, in sliding mode, a photo that I had been imagining since my arrival!
The very last morning, before continuing my journey, ready to leave after a few hours without any observations, I decided to take a last look of the site. It's always hard to leave after such an amazing week, full of emotions and photos! More than 10cm of snow had accumulated during the night, and a few snowflakes were still falling from the sky which was beginning to clear up slowly; optimal conditions. I immediately see an otter very close to the hut, in fishing mode. She dives and I grab this opportunity to approach, but I am surprised by a second otter which comes out a few meters away from me. I freeze, she looks at me, analyzes me, and returns in the water.
This last little detour allowed me to spend more than 90 minutes with two river otters and make images that I had always dreamed of, alone and in complete harmony with nature. Not only was I able to take photos, but above all I was able to observe them and make myself accepted in their environment, without disturbing their natural behavior and that is precious.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog and look at my pictures. If you are an otter lover like me, you can order prints and frames of several photos of these adorable animals. The links are below!
My very first encounter with the bobcat (Lynx rufus), what an amazing moment and what a privilege I had! Before starting the big season of photography, spring, I allowed myself a little two weeks of warm weather and surf, to relax. Nevertheless, I always bring my almost all my equipment in order not to regret a rare opportunity, and I'm glad I did!