IIt rarely snows here in Orkney. But in February of this year, our islands appeared in the highlands of the Arctic Circle. The smooth, treeless hills are shiny and white, like the Italian meringues, and the inland lakes are covered with ice. It’s the perfect winter weather. Breath floats in the calm and cold air, the sunset sky is of bright quality, rose gold and amber strips sink behind the Hui hills and simmer in the sea.
A few days ago, when I drove to the town, I got a glimpse of the movement of the hard white plain, which is now Lake Stenness. The thick ice plate was bent at a corner where movement in the water prevented freezing. And there was a dark person with a crouched edge. It was looking into the water far from the shore.
Small, supple, four-legged. Cat? strange. I pulled it to make it look good. As I walked carefully through the powder snow, I kept my eyes on this little dark body. At that point, the second largest person stood up from the depths and joined it.
Otters: One is a boy, the other is an adult, probably his mother. Both were smooth with water and had a long, muscular tail. As they entered and exited the water, their delicate feet slipped on inch-thick ice. The mother hid and apparently hit the water with an invisible combatant before soon reappearing in backing motion. After silence for a while, she slipped onto the ice and won. And he still wriggles, dragging the eel, a dark, snake-like creature. They first worked for it, but a shared dinner. What a sight!
I’m lucky. Good luck to them too. Due to all of its beauty, the winter weather was harsh for Orkney otters. One of them recently pitched up at the front door of the Marquis Star Hotel, curled up like a kitten on a mat, lean and shivered. (Staff caught some haddock from the freezer for it and then called the Scottish Atrocities Prevention Association. animal.. )
Not all poor otters are so lucky. But the wind has changed. A strong wind comes along with the thaw. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
Country Diary: Winter was cruel to Orkney otters | Environment
SourceCountry Diary: Winter was cruel to Orkney otters | Environment