March 28, 2008 in Keepers Log, More Logbook

otter spotter number 256

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This morning, around 9:15 AM, a river otter was swimming in the mouth of the Esopus Creek. It’s swift and undulating motions were unmistakeable. After swimming at the surface for awhile, it dove underwater and reemerged near the dock. Last seen swimming along the bulkhead by the dock. An hour later, I noticed a ripple in the water along the bulkhead and went to investigate. While I waited for what I hoped was the river otter to reemerge, I noticed a bald eagle perched in a tree on the other side of the creek. Add to that, red-winged blackbirds flying from the marsh to visit the birdfeeder, four mute swans milling about in the mouth of the creek, and a dozen swallows skimming the water’s surface. Eventually, the river otter reappeared. It stuck it’s head up out of the water, looked around, and dove back underwater. Since it was a cold and rainy day, I decided not to wait around for the otter again and went back inside the house. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping an eye out for it whenever I’m passing by the windows.

This was my first definite river otter sighting on Hudson River. Once before, I saw what may have been a river otter, but was unsure. This time, I had no doubts about what I saw, so I emailed the sighting to Benjamin Stafford at the Hudson River Otter Stewardship Program. He quickly replied, and said that makes me “otter spotter number 256.”

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