10 Furry and Delightful Reasons to Love the Islands
- Note: This is a guest blog post by Jann Ledbetter, a valued Land Trust member and incredible wildlife photographer. Jann spent a month photographing a family of river otters on a Central Whidbey Island beach this summer. She shares her experience:
“I want to be a river otter in my next life” a friend confided in me recently. And after spending time watching North American river otters this summer, I have to agree that is a very understandable desire.
Curious and playful, river otters’ thick, water-repellent fur insulates them in cold water where they are often seen gliding through the water in small groups. They are equally comfortable on land and have even been known to climb awkwardly up some of the steep bluffs on Whidbey Island.
Random river otter sightings on Whidbey are always a thrill but the otters are usually moving so fast that there is no real opportunity for me to observe their behavior or to get a decent photograph. On a beach on Central Whidbey during one month this past summer, however, a group of 10 river otters showed up regularly and put on quite a show for onlookers.
I was thrilled to see one come out of a tunnel in a hillside as I drove along the road one evening. I quickly found a place to pull over, grabbed my camera and jumped out of the car. This group of otters was accessing the beach through a culvert that went underneath the road, cautiously checking to be sure the coast was clear before emerging.
When they felt that it was safe to do so, they scurried across the beach and into the water, where they appeared to be having a delightful time, swimming, frolicking, and diving playfully.
It was amazing to see that within just a few short minutes, each river otter emerged from the water with a freshly caught fish. Capturing their dinner seemed effortless for this group and they settled in at water’s edge to enjoy their catch.
I so enjoyed having the chance to watch these river otters and took quite a few photos and videos to capture the experience. Encounters like these are just one of the many reasons I am so happy to be living on Whidbey Island!
You Really Otter Join Us!
There’s still time to register for Dr. Heide Island’s fascinating webinar on Whidey Island river otters. The presentation takes place at 6 p.m. on November 20.