Tag Archives: otters

Otters and Great White Egret

The wildlife parade began on Monday and has lasted all week!

In addition to the elk herd, at least 2 families of otters are coming by everyday.  Here’s a favorite video of the otters.  You may want to click on YouTube (bottom, right) for better viewing.

[youtube https://youtu.be/xQvKncghikw]

This evening we had a special visitor that we don’t see very often.  4 Great White Egret fished for a while and then roosted in a nearby tree.

great white egret
I wonder if these are young egrets with a parent?

They just look like a white version of the Great Blue Heron.

great white egret
Finding a comfortable tree for roosting

They are graceful birds.

great white egret
If they snack on bugs they’ve found the right spot

Otter family on the Alsea

The otter family can be quiet when they want to.  This family has 4 kits.  The fourth is up in the grass outside the picture frame.

Otter family on Alsea River
Otter family on Alsea River

They were swimming downriver when the one in the video below saw a mudcat (sculpin) that it decided to have for lunch.  I was surprised at how long he kept after that fish until he caught it.  Based on the otter’s moves, that sculpin was pretty experienced at evading danger!

[youtube https://youtu.be/YHpYztlUybM]

Breakfast with the Otters

It is a frosty 30 degrees here in Tidewater, OR, this morning!  I am SO grateful for a warm and dry place to live.

These photos were taken near Blackberry Campground on the Alsea River, Oregon.

alsea river otter eating
Not catch-n-release

I wonder if otters, or any wildlife for that matter, ever shiver?

2 otters eating salmon on riverbank
Focused on their breakfast

There were at least 5 river otters in this group.  Just a little bit of mist is coming off the river.

Don’t you just love outdoor breakfasts on the river!

5 otters eating salmon on alsea river
Everybody’s happy

I’m assuming they are eating small salmon.  The color of the flesh is bright orange as you’ll be able to see in the video below.

The Ebb and Flow of Alsea Wildlife

As the wildlife young are growing up, we are seeing more of them along our part of the Alsea River (about 12 miles east of Waldport).

Osprey - adult
Osprey – adult

We must not have an Osprey nest close by because we haven’t seen one here since the chicks hatched in the Waldport High School nest.  I’ve heard there is also a nest at Eckman Lake?  If you’ve spent time near an osprey nest their call is forever imprinted on your mind; as was mine after the summer we spent workamping in Sam Owen Campground near Sandpoint, Idaho.  I thought I’d never miss their calls again.  The young are relentless in their loud, high-pitched, begging for food.  They are either begging or sleeping and seemed to be no in between.  But I was excited to hear this one last week.  Oddly enough, the otter alarm call sounds so much like an osprey to me; only it is a single chirp instead of three.

Mom with Otter Kits on Alsea River
Mom with Otter Kits

I’m convinced that we are seeing several families of otters now and I can only tell them apart by how many are in the group (if they get out of the river long enough for me to count).

Great White Egret on Lint Slough
Great White Egret on Lint Slough

The Great White Egrets are showing up on Lint Sough, on the east end of Waldport.  Their stark white body really stands out against the forest greenery.

Kayaking Lint Sough
Kayaking Lint Sough

Did you know there used to be a fish hatchery up Lint Slough?  Word has it (from a local old-timer) that their return rate was over 90%!  The slough winds way back into the forested canyon.  If you don’t have your own kayak, you can rent one or get a guided tour in the summer through Labor Day at the Kayak Shack on the Port of Alsea.

5 Elk Calves
5 Elk Calves

Back up the river, most of the elk calves have lost their spots.  Maybe that’s what they are looking for?  No, I don’t have them.  Ask your mother.

With their ears leaning forward and that furry neck, they almost look like a lama to me.  The elk, like all of the wildlife, come and go from day to day.  We don’t see them for a few days or weeks, then we see them everyday for a week at certain times of the day.  I’m sure they have a route they travel but I don’t think they are on a schedule.  Tides and hungry cougars will alter their route I’m sure.

Wildlife tracks on the Alsea River
What kind of tracks are these?

Speaking of hungry cougars…what kind of tracks do you think these are?  I really don’t know.  If I’d been smart, I would have checked our side of the river when I saw these.  I’ll do that the next time I see something I can’t identify from a distance; in case they crossed the river.

Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River
Green Heron at Low Tide on Alsea River

We saw 2 Green Heron land under the willows at the same time last evening.

It’s funny how, once you see and identify a bird or other wildlife, you seem to see them all the time.  Or, maybe, it’s that ebb and flow thing again?  Like the tides, the wildlife comes in and it goes out.

Little Mother Otter

A big disturbance in the water made me watch closely for what would show on the surface of the Alsea River today.

Little Mother Otter

Otter Mom with one kit
Otter Mom with (at least) one kit

They were so active in the water, and keeping together for the most part, that it was hard to tell how many there were.

River Otter Huddle
Otter Huddle

Fortunately, I was able to see them on the river bank.  Now I just have to hope they spread out so I can count them.

river otters on river bank
Who’s got the fish? I mean ball?

SIX!   I count 5 kits and one adult (the mom).

river otters on alsea river
He’s got it! Dog Pile!

What a fun way to start the day!