We have otters!

May 12th 2018

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Otters have arrived at Welhams Meadow

Two months ago one of our regular dog walkers noticed a half eaten fish beside the lakes on the farm, and mentioned it to me. Then two weeks ago I was tidying up the patios in front of our country retreats and noticed something I have never seen before on the farm ? an otter spraint. I had heard that otters were in the River Gipping, and had started to come up the tributary of the River Bat, but to come up so far up our stream seems amazing!

Now this is where the excitement of a wildlife success story is tinged with regret. The Germans have a word for this feeling of two conflicting emotions at the same time ? schadenfreude. We?re so happy that the quality of the water in our streams now means there?s food for the otters, but we?re saddened by the effect of the otters finding our fishing lakes will have on the fish stock available to the local angling club. When I spoke to Steve at the club he said what i had noticed just confirmed what several of his members had already reported to him.

So the plan is to find the funding for an otter fence for the large fishing lake here at Welhams Meadow which will then allow the fish a chance to recover, with the smaller fishing lake being left for the otters to occasionally visit.

For our part we have put up a night vision wildlife camera to try to capture some pictures of our visiting otters. Who would have thought when otters were wiped out in the 1970?s that we?d now be able to see them again in the wild fifty years later? And maybe they don?t just come at night. Last week I swept the patio of the furthest lodge mid-morning, and at tea time there was a new spraint there for all to see! So not only do we have otters, we?ve got bold otters!!