Surprise Wildlife Encounter–Baby Otters

DSC08658

Ready to dive between the rocks for shelter

For all the other times I have looked for, hoped to, or simply thought we might see wildlife, this was not what I was expecting as we strolled the walkway alongside Wickford, RI Harbor. The water was like glass, and all the boats appeared to have been tied back up, done for the weekend. Several people sat on the benches, while on man stood, tossing his fishing line out into the water.The busy little seaside town was nearly deserted.

DSC08663

A quiet evening harborside

But one woman peered intently into the shallows, looking right below where we walked. Her cell phone was poised, and she was ready to snap a picture, but what was she looking at? I finally whispered, “What are you looking for?”

She pointed to the crevices in the stone retaining wall of the harbor. “Baby otters, I think.” She continued, “I thought it might be a rat, or a mink. I’m really not sure. They keep running back under the wall.”

DSC08657

Three baby otters, one too fast to capture with our camera.

We stood quietly and waited. Soon enough, a sharp little nose poked out from the wall, then the whole critter skittered along the uneven edges of rock that make up the retaining wall. Before we could get a picture, it had ducked back into another crevice and disappeared. We waited. Again, another animal scurried over the rocks. Then anther, and finally we saw three, fast on their feet, and sleek.

DSC08660

Yes, they can swim

Clearly the mother otter had found a safe place to stash her babies–these animals were only a foot long or so, not including their tails. We saw no hint of the mother, but surely she was not far away. Perhaps if we had waited long enough, she would have appeared. Would she take them somewhere else? Or simply feed them and tuck them into their improbable den for the night?

DSC08654

Crevices in the retaining wall offer a safe refuge

Our thoughts had been on boats and the sea. What a sweet surprise to see these graceful, playful little ones cavorting at the edge of Wickford Harbor, after a day of biking out to the shore at Quonset Point.  But that, as they say, is another story.

Marjorie

beech cliffs 2018Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed three guides to Easy Walking trails in Massachusetts, “Easy Walks in Massachusetts 2nd edition,”  “More Easy Walks in Massachusetts,”  and edited “Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed.” A native Floridian, she came north for college and snow! Marjorie is a Certified Legacy Planner with LegacyStories.org, and is the producer of numerous veterans interviews for the Bellingham/Mendon Veteran’s History Project. http://www.marjorieturner.com

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340

http://tinyurl.com/MTH-More-easy-walks

https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Paddles-River-Watershed/dp/1985377012

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.