Before they closed down the five-mile-trail at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, I saw River Otters quite regularly. Now I rarely see them, though the copious scat and multiple paths across the dike at Theler Wetlands in Belfair are sure signs that otter frequent the area. I’ve even managed to see them in the distance once this year, but so far away that they were barely recognizable in the shots I got.
Luckily, if you’re birding you have to keep an eye on the whole environment or I might have missed my most recent sighting. I happened to be looking at Union River and saw an unusual ripple in the middle of the river. Thinking it might be a duck trying to avoid being seen, particularly since it’s hunting season, I kept my on the ripple as it made its way down the river and was rewarded by the sight of two River Otters swimming side by side.
I figured they would spot me
and leave since they’ve certainly appeared shy every time I’ve seen them before. But as this one was giving me the once over the other one suddenly shot up right next to it,
and the fun began. Pretty hard to capture a game that takes place largely under water, but they were obviously having a good time wrestling
and were far too preoccupied to pay attention to me.
Their amorous intent was more obvious when they finally finished wrestling and crawled up onto a nearby log.
Unfortunately, the female seemed to rebuff his advances. Miffed the otter turned down the log and looked back at me, as if accusingly.]
However, it wasn’t long before the female looked like she wanted to snuggle again,
though the male didn’t look entirely convinced. At that point I decided that a little privacy was in order and went back to looking for birds, though I knew that this was a Good Day to be Alive.