It was a cold dark morning and I nearly decided to stay in bed. I am so glad I didn't as I ended up with the most thrilling encounter with the otters so far. When I got to the hide just before sunrise there was no-one else there (always a good sign). I peeped through the shutter and could see an otter in the pool. When I got the shutter open I could see there were two as they climbed onto the far bank. The light was very poor as the sun was not yet up (please excuse the photos). The otter on the left has a fish and I am pretty sure it is a pup and the other behind it is the mother.
The mother otter got back in the water and a few minutes later caught another fish. She climbed out again, a bit farther along the far bank and again followed by a pup, and left the pup to eat the fish.
She got back in again and at this stage it dawned on me that there were still two otters in the water (the first one had finished its fish), so three in all. Mother was doing more fishing and the otter pups were surfing like porpoises their excitement.
This is the closest I got to a photo of all three - the two pups are swimming towards me and the mother is diving just behind them.
She then caught another fish and climbed onto the bank just below me with one of the pups and again left it to eat the fish.
A few photos of the pup. It was partly hidden by the grass and kept looking the wrong way while it was eating but in the fourth photo you can see the tail of the fish about to disappear.
Mother wasn't finished yet. She caught another fish and again gave it to the other pup in the corner of the far bank. At this stage both pups were on opposite banks eating their breakfast.
In the 25 minutes or so that I was watching the mother otter caught four fish and gave them all to the two pups. Eventually they all moved off to another part of the lake. It's days like this that make up for all the quiet times in the hide when nothing much seems to happen.