Monday, 13 December 2010

Otters 2010

As discussed in recent posts, the  recent findings of spraints along the river demonstrate that the spraint found in March wasn't just a single occurrence. So it seems an opportunity to reflect upon the various otter related postings over the past 12 months.
Like the water vole map, a map of otter activity can be plotted using google maps:

View Otters 2010 in a larger map

Pin A: Is the original spraint recorded in February:
It is also the site of the recent spraints as recorded in these two recent posts: in November and this one three weeks later 
Pin B: Is the location of a mutilated cray fish found by Drayton Road bridge , found back in July:
Although the post considers various options on what killed it, in retrospect I am convinced it was an Otter.
Pin C: Is another dead crayfish, this one was intact, so it may be not have been an otter killing:
Pin D: Is possible otter sighting, seen having retrieved the spraint as described at the end of this recent spraint post:
As with the water vole and other wildlife sightings recorded in this blog they are sent to the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre.
This blog isn't the only record of otter activity in the area and by expanding the map these can be seen relative to the four discussed in this blog, showing the area now covered by otters in this part of Oxfordshire:

View Otters 2010 in a larger map

Pin E: An otter spraint was recorded earlier in the year at Sandford Brook at the Dry Sandford Pit nature reserve (source BBOWT newsletter)
Pin F (near Oxford): The location of an otter spraint recorded at the BBOWT nature reserve at Iffley Meadows along the river Thames (source - BBOWT newsletter).
The level of otter activity is perhaps not suprising as the Thames catchement has shown one of the largest increases in otter numbers as stated in the environment agency's 2010 otter survey
In 2000 / 2002 there was no evidence of otters along the Ock and the Thames, yet in 2009/2010 16 out of 20 surveys revealed evidence of otters.
The Environment Agency suggest this could be due to improved water quality in recent years as otters moved in from the west (possibly via the kennet and avon canal) and a reintroduction programme in the Upper Thames area in 1999.
Although otters seldom live beyond 6 years, it may be the relatives of these reintroduced otters that are currently resident in the Ock.
The Environment Agency report also highlights one of the biggest threats to otters is in road accidents, such as the Pin G  in the map which is where the dead otter was found at Clifton Hampden mentioned by David in a comment to the original otter spraint post:

No comments:

Post a Comment