2014.04 Shetland Islands looking for the elusive eurasian otter

15th June 2014

For those who like to look at my pictures on facebook or read my blog, it is no surprise that otters are animals that fascinate me. I had seen them already in Brazil (the giant river otter) but this time I thought I could give a try with Eurasian otters. So a trip was planned in Shetland Islands (Scotland). There I met with a great guy/guide named Brydon Thomason from Shetland Nature.

So the idea was to experience some good outdoors in the moorlands of Shetlands to try to approach some otters and since it was a good time, to watch the Northern gannet which is a very charismatic species of bird.

On the first day I went to Hermaness cliffs with Robbie, who is an enthusiast birder and we had a great day watching and photographing some of the 25000 couples that are nesting here.

Here are some pictures of the birds:

Shetland (especially when sunny) is very beautiful. I was lucky to see the most northern tip of the UK in a very sunny day!

But my main goal when coming to the Shetland Islands was to see the elusive European otter. And boy, it is a hell of a task to get the animal in the frame. I truly enjoyed it but it implied a lot of walking on the moorland, trying to find clues of the presence of the animal (like pugmarks or scats). From there we would scan the coastline on foot or with the binocular. Otters have a good hearing, a poor eyesight but a fantastic sense of smelling. So the idea is not be smelt which usually requires to pay much attention to the wind direction. We had a few very good approach and when they do not get a glimpse of your presence, you can actually be very close to the otters. Here are a few pictures of those nice moments we had with Brydon:

I enjoyed this experience and I am sure I will come-back at a different season. Good bye Shetland!

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