Friday, 22 March 2013

Tarka Returns to Thetford

We stood on a muddy river bank, under a dull grey sky, with the threat of snow in the air but there was a smile on every face.  The otter had found a group of photographers and was putting on a show for the cameras.

When we arrived there had been one lone photographer but no otter.  Two more guys were wandering up and down the bank and in the distance we spotted two more looking excited as an otter frolicked on the bank in front of them.  We quietly hurried across and caught a brief view as it swam away.

It was when we were returning from our walk we got the best views.  There were about fifteen photographers following this lively creature along the river as it swam and dived and ate and popped up to look at us.  Brilliant!

Otters were on the brink of extinction after their numbers fell by 95% between 1950 and 1970 but our rivers are now cleaner and the otter is a protected species so the population is rising again.  It is doing so well some fishing groups are calling for a cull!

Further down the river we found the Black-bellied Dipper.  It was first spotted by the BTO Director of Services, Andrew Scott, back in November 2012.  It has stayed in the same location ever since and has
become one of the most-recorded individual bird in the BTO BirdTrack in 2013.

On the home front I spent an hour tidying up a border yesterday and spotted all the jobs I wanted to get on with if only we didn't have a forecast for snow over the weekend!  So frustrating!  The greenhouse is in full swing though so plenty of pottering to do and a giant hole to fill in ....

All the photos by Andy Mason because I forgot to take a camera!


ALDI are selling packs of vegetable plug plants for £1.99 this week - choose from tomatoes; lettuce; peppers and cauliflowers.  They are also selling fruit plants - pack of six Elsanta strawberries for £2.99 or fruit bushes in 2lt pots for the same price - redcurrant; raspberry; red or green gooseberry; blackberry; blackcurrant or blueberry.  For £4.99 there's a choice of ten ornamental trees or for £5.99 there are five different Rhododendrons in 5lt pots.

Rooko at Don't Lose the Plot tells us B&Q are selling off seed potatoes (£1.50 per bag of 25 pots).


  1. The otter photographs are stunning, especially the last one. The animal is very curious. Just so exciting tomhave seen this with yiur own eyes. In our country they are protected too and in spite of the slowly growing population there are not many of them. You must just be lucky to see them.

    1. Hi Janneke. Yes it was a very memorable walk and the otter wasn't at all shy.

  2. Well done on your photographs Andy! What an amazing sight to see!
    Beautiful creatures. We had a sighting of an otter in the river nearby my house a couple of years ago. It would be nice to think they were making a comeback up here too!

  3. I am very lucky to have access to great photographs. I was upset when I realised I had fogotten my camera when the otter was so close but I knew I would have used Andy's pictures anyway. Want to see more? He has a blog post on garden birds here:

  4. How wonderful to see otters up close. The photo of one examining the camera is fantastic! The snow and cold weather really is a hindrance at the moment isn't it, let's hope it warms up soon.

  5. Wonderful to see them up close and personal