My colleague, the Proper Birdwatcher, told me that if I could be at the Lower Hide at Leighton Moss at around 8 am then I would have a fair chance of seeing an otter and its two cubs. I made an early morning visit, knowing that I would have to be away well before eight in order to get to work on time, but forgetting just how far the walk to the Lower Hide is, with the result that I was only at the hide for a couple of minutes before I had to set off back for my car.
As I approached the small bridge on the causeway footpath I heard splashing and caught a glimpse of movement – something slipped into the water. When I have been here recently I have consistently seen a few fish leaping from the water, presumably after flies, but now an entire shoal leapt clear, arced and splashed back into the water – perhaps twenty to thirty fish. There were never as many again, but I was able to follow the progress of something under the water apparently terrifying the fish which leapt clear singly and in small groups in different areas around the pool. Had I just missed the otter?
Behind me in the reedbeds I could hear the eerie bellowing cries of rutting red deer stags. A fine start to a day.