S3 Otter

A great moment this week when we discovered that one of our “OtterCams” had finally captured a picture of an otter on the Surrey side of the border with Hampshire.

Whilst the otter recovery across the UK-  a welcome antidote to the gloom presented by the recent State of Nature report- has seen all counties now with records of otter , the recovery in the Southe East, in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, has been slower. 

Early in 2013, I was alerted to the presence of otters on our South West border by the Environment Agency  and following it up was almost incredulous to see three otters- one obviously adult and two juveniles, which we have assumed are a family group. I have been tracking the progress of these animals along 5km of river into Surrey.Recently  I have been aided in my efforts when in May Aaron Mason from Surrey University Department of Computer Science loaned us 3 HCO Scoutguard SG580M cameras . These units not only take pictures but email thumbnails as soon as they have. We had placed one of these by a sprainting site that by the signs present had been visited regularly over a few years and which I knew had been sprainted in March 2013 and again in early June. As luck would have it we positioned a camera at this site only one day before the photograph was captured above.

We have two more cameras downstream, beyond the point at which we have found spraint, but where an artificial holt was installed by my predecessor Chris Matcham. It took me at least a minute to resolve the image below into something that wasn’t an otter, fixated as I was in their advance up river, but these are definitely badgers, visible beyond the “rear” exit pipe of the buried holt.

I’ll keep you posted though.