15 February 2013

Otters, Lutra lutra - Rhossili Bay

               No - this otter is for illustration only, to head the blog.

My son, Gwyn Thomas reported that at 21.00 last night, 14th Feb, 2013, he observed three otters (judged to be a female with two well-grown cubs) in the sea off Kitchen Corner, Rhossili Bay.
The map ref: SS 40277 87609 for the location.
Kitchen Corner is the farthest south-west point of the Rhossili Bay cliffs, just before the Causeway on the left, looking out to sea.
These were making their way from the causeway (Crabart) towards the bay, at a distance of around 10 metres out from the rocks.
Sadly the light was too poor for his camera-phone to record an image, though they were well illuminated by his headlamp.
They were uttering squeaking contact calls to each other, with which Gwyn is familiar, and he has no doubt of the identification.
He reports that many dabs were about that night, and he thinks the otters were targeting them.
Certainly they are partial to sea fish - this is one eating a sea lamprey on the river Teme at Ludlow-

And they are common in the seas off the Western Isles, but I have had no experience of these in the seas of Gower. Are there any other reports of these?
I should welcome comments on this sighting.


Anonymous said...

Barry and mark filmed an otter fishing just off shore at Oxwich bay a few years ago, think the clip was on this site.

Barry Stewart said...

Veronica Shenston also saw one first light when a few of us overnighted to trap moths on Burry Holms. I've also seen photos of a family group on the Worm causeway a few years ago, etc., etc. , so they seem to be regular users of marine habitats.

gareth thomas said...

From Barry's comment, I am drawn to the possibility that there may even be a holt on the Worm itself. Family groups tend not to wander very far, while the dogs venture far afield.
There is no significant fish-holding freshwater body anywhere near the causeway, while the Crabart itself would appear to be an ideal habitat for all of the otter's needs.
A permanent base on the Worm would seem to be a logical location. Could these then be entirely marine Lutra lutra, as seen on the Scottish coast?

Dan said...

Wow, this is really amazing indeed. If anyone else sees any otters (whether in marine or freshwater habitats) on Gower Id be gratetul if they can let me know.

gareth thomas said...

Just to report that Gwyn was out on the ledges at Kitchen Corner last night - 19-02-13 and at 20.15 a single large otter came swimming around from the Crabart and continued fishing towards the Bay, i.e. travelling left to right from his observation point.
Map ref as quoted above on the blog.
There were no hangers-on, so no vocalising, and he thought it looked a lot more robust than the family he saw last week, so possibly the dog?
Again no photo, but he is going prepared with his Lumix next time.

dave hanham said...

Saw a family of three today at 10:15, tide was in ,in the mouth of Giants Cave (between Fall and Mewslade Bays) whilst coasteering. Decent size swell and very strong SE winds but they seemed completely comfortable. Lots of vocalisation. This vindicates me when I screamed 'OTTER' during a coasteering session along the Rhossilli cliffs two years ago and I felt really stupid when everyone said that there aren't any otters!

Anonymous said...

an otter run on the beach today. was around 16.30 it came up quite close to some children then run back down to the sea went in and i didnt see it again.. there were at least 10 others who were watching it too, it looked black tho,

Anonymous said...

4 got to say was in oxwich bay