December 31, 2017

I went out kayaking on New Year’s Eve morning and it was cold when I got to the river.  There was frost on my kayak and fog over the water.  When it is this cold, I usually have to wait on shore a little while for the fog to rise, before I can launch the kayak. As I was waiting for the fog to lift a group of five otters entered the area right in front of me.  So I jumped in the kayak and floated a short distance behind them just observing their behavior since it was too dark and foggy to photograph. As the fog lifted a bit the otters swam out of the cove area into the main portion of the river, so I followed them. I was still trailing and observing and not really doing much photography since it was still kind of dark and the back ends of otters didn’t really interest me.

But it wasn’t long after hitting the main channel that one of the otters caught a salmon. This salmon had been tagged and released as a wild spawning salmon and had a big pink streamer attached.  This sure made it easy to spot and to follow the otter with the fish!  The otters were heading to an area that has a large tree overhanging the river with lots of branches that enter the water.  I have frequently seen otter here in the past and knew they liked to hang out under the protection of the branches. I also knew there was a log nearby that I got raft up against giving me a good view of the action, but the problem in this location is photographing through all the branches.  In the kayak pressed up against the log I don’t have a lot of maneuverability to change my position to shoot around the branches, I pretty much have to take what I can get.

Fortunately the otter with the salmon appeared in a bit of break in the branches and I was able to get some good pictures. The otter was so busy eating it didn’t even notice I had approached. Then in between bites it looked up and gave me some great expressions before ignoring me again and going back to its meal.





After taking a dozen or so stills, I flipped the camera into video mode and made a short recording of the voracious otter feasting on fish.





I hope you enjoy the images!