In a lifetime of nature watching I'd never seen an otter in the wild. I've found their tracks, identified their scat, and missed their presence by seconds on countless kayak trips and river walks. Where I live there are regular sightings (increasing over the years) and yet always I seemed to be in the right place at the wrong time, or whatever combination resulted in a no-show!
Yesterday it seemed was no different...
Jane and I walked for almost two hours around the lakes and streams at Bosherston in Pembrokeshire - an otter 'hot spot' according to the National Trust. Not that we expected any luck. Indeed, so sure were we that we'd not see one that we reminisced about the days when our older boys were small and we used to say that if anyone spotted an otter (verified of course) then we'd reward them with £100. This was mainly a ruse to keep them occupied but had they been successful I'd have gladly paid up.
As the sun began to dip, it seemed our bank balance would be safe for another day...
Until driving home we passed the bridge at Pembroke and Jane noticed that a crowd had gathered with cameras at the ready.
'I wonder if they've spotted an ...' she said?
Stop the car! I cried.
A quick u-turn and I was out, running towards the bridge, iPhone in hand, scanning the millpond for movement... And sure enough, there in full view of the town centre was my first ever otter spot!. Not exactly the wilderness location I'd imagined, but who cares about that. I beckoned Jane from the car and she managed a sighting too.
So sorry boys, but mum and dad got there first - we'll share that hundred quid on a treat together.
Meanwhile, I wonder if otters will now be like buses - you wait all day and then three come along at once!
I rather hope so.