Otters in the valleys

The presence of Otters in the very heart of Stroud shows just how important the river and canal  are to the movement of species along the Stroud Valleys. Sightings of these wonderful creatures have continued to increase in recent years, often in daylight hours. We cannot be sure how many individuals are using the waterways here, but some seem to be quite unperturbed by the presence of people close by.

Otter 2 copyCurious, but not too bothered. Steve Roberts

This is true of one individual that spent a few days in the vicinity of Fromehall Mill, where the offices of Stroud Nature are located. It was observed feeding in the millpond and had also been seen in the adjacent River Frome.

Otter copyPhotographed through a break in the trees from the office. Steve Roberts

On another occasion Stroud Nature director Steve Roberts spotted an adult and two youngsters early one morning, on a raised bank between the pond and river, immediately below the office window. “It was a little too gloomy to photograph them and they moved out of sight pretty quickly, occasionally calling to each other with a high pitched squeal. I kept the window open. About five minutes later I could hear the call of an Otter once more. The adult passed below me in the river. I grabbed my camera and went downstairs and outside to stand on the stone bridge obver the river.

Otter 3Not the greatest photo in the early morning gloom, but hey … so exciting.  Steve Roberts

Within two minutes I heard the calls again and the same otter came swimming around the bend. It looked up at me and continued beneath the bridge, quickly exiting the river into vegetation on the other side”.

We know that Otters have also been seen on other, higher stretches of the River Frome and they are also following the smaller streams and brooks that feed the river and the canal. Following the Painswick Stream has brought them to Stratford Park and no doubt beyond. This network of waterways is vital to the movement of so many species through the Stroud Vallleys.

Here at Fromehall MIll our eyes and ears are always open for the sights and sounds of otters and the other species that reside  here or pass through – the Little Egret, Goosander, Cormorant, Little Grebe that are seen on the millpond. The Kingfisher, Dipper that use the river. Goldcrest, Siskin and Tree Creeper among the Alders and other trees that line the millpond and river.

I, for one, count myself very lucky that this is all happening where I work. Where I live.

 

 

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