Otter surveying techniques training

Sunday, May 10th 2009

Today 20 people came to Foxglove for a training day on Otter surveying techniques. This was run for us by Jon Traill of The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. After a morning in the classroom finding out about footprints, spraint, likely habitat and the differences between Otter, Mink and Water Vole habits we set off after lunch to survey a stretch of Risedale Beck. We walked up the stream through a stretch of non-intervention area and before long were pleased to find fresh footprints in the muddy banks.

Otter dropping

The best find was undoubtedly the Otter spraint, or dropping, pictured above. You can see the fish scales and bones within the dropping. It was found on a typical large rock to the side of the stream and smelt faintly of dried Jasmine tea! Jon told us that we had very good habitat for Otters to use as lying up sites all along the beck. We also saw Bullhead fish eggs on the underneath of a large stone and newly hatched Mayflies basking on the rocks. The rain held off until the end of our walk and everyone had a good day. Thanks must go to Jon and Claire for coming to hold their training day at Foxglove Covert.

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