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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Furry Swimmer!

After I finished some work assignments this afternoon I drove over to Lincoln Lake, because it was really nearby. This is the same lake where Ellen and I saw the mergansers, but about a mile farther east. I was hoping to get some more duck pictures. All I could see at first were several of the large mute swans, and some ducks way too far away for pictures.

Then, I saw...

swimming mammal

...a furry swimmer! Oooh, I knew this was going to be good. I already had an idea of what I was seeing, but I had to be sure, so I ran to the observation dock while the swimmer kept... swimming, fast.


What are my choices? Around here, there are three good possibilities: muskrat, otter, beaver, listed by size from smallest to largest. I don't see muskrats very often, but they are quite common. Beavers are coming back with a vengeance, but this isn't the right kind of place for them. They like streams they can dam up, not large established lakes. I was hoping it was an otter. And, it was not an idle hope because I'd seen otters on Lincoln Lake before, but quite a long time ago.


It swam right between those two swans! One of them pecked at it, but I didn't get a picture of that. After that, the swans just watched it. But what is it?


It's an otter! I already knew it wasn't a beaver (too small). I already knew it wasn't a muskrat (too richly brown- muskrat fur isn't as good-looking, and the head is too round). But then I saw the tail, and that clinched it. Muskrats have naked tails like a big rat. Beavers, of course, have that famous broad, flat tail. Otters have round, furred tails, and this one politely showed his/hers off for us. It looks skinny because the water has plastered down the fur, but it's clearly not rat-ish.

Saw other interesting things today too, but this was the best, and I got some pictures, although a really good otter picture is still elusive. Gives me something to strive for!

See Ellen and Joan's Urban Walk


Duxbury Ramblers said...

Otters are beautiful - we are just beginning to get them back in our rivers - we have not seen any as yet but others have.

♦♦Icy BC said...

It must be exciting to see! What a treat for city dwellers like me.

Secondary Roads said...

Love those pix. The last time I saw an otter was in a zoo. Great swimmers.

betchai said...

oh, I love otters, they are cute and a joy to see.

vanilla said...

Watched the otter on the lake in Florida this winter. I otter gotta picture, but no such luck.
Enjoying your here, though.

Ann said...

You otter be proud of those pictures even if they are a little blurry. Cool capture, must have been fun to watch.

Lin said...

I was gonna guess "Loch Ness Monster"!!

I've never seen an otter in the wild like that--how cool!! Good eye, Sharky! And even better camera.

spinninglovelydays said...

How cute! It must be exciting to see one in the wild. The only one I ever saw was doing a show in Sea World. :(

Sharkbytes said...

Carol- I hope you do! Of course my favorite otter is from your side of the pond- from Ring of Bright Water

Icy- There is more wildlife in a city than you might expect. Especially with more parks and nature preserves being created.

Chuck- actually the last time I saw otters was in the Duluth aquarium, so I guess I have to say "me too!"

betchai- they do just make one smile, don't they? Such clowns!

vanilla- sometimes just watching is more important than pictures. I seem to be in photo capturing mode, but not always.

Ann- I'm getting more and better pictures of wildlife, mostly because I try to carry the camera almost everywhere! (and a decent zoom lens)

Lin- thanks. The camera is moderately good. I think I got a good tradeoff for quality vs weight.

Ivy- My best views have also been at place like that- Duluth Aquarium for one. But that allowed me to get a "feel" for how they move in the wild, and makes an ID from a distance easier.

Ferd said...

Excellent! Now I'll be able to distinguish among otters, beavers and muskrats!

Sharkbytes said...

Ferd- Once you get to see a few, they are pretty easy to tell even from a distance.

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