Monday, August 14, 2006

Otters Spotted? (pics) update

(In regards to the first comment below about a better resolution photo)
Here is one of the raw-data photos and if you click to enlarge it you can see the full size and maybe can enhance it a bit with a good photo program. I enlarged them and cropped them and lightened them a bit to get the close up images in the photos at the bottom, the top photo is right out of my camera. Maybe they are beavers and from the side the tails looked round and furry the way the light was coming from the side, I can't say as I didn't see the tails, just my husband did but we weren't all that close. But they didn't act like the beavers we've seen before, the way they were swimming around together, diving and coming back up. We often see beavers at Presque Isle so we know what they normally look like, these just didn't act like it but maybe they are young, frolicking beavers.
Sunday we headed to Presque Isle with our canoe. We launched at the lagoons and our canoe slipped quietly into the magic land that only Preque Isle can deliver. The amount of wild life that you can see up close is amazing. We fished for a while and caught some small bass and sunfish but the real show was the swallows (maybe they were purple martins). There were so many of them. Huge flocks dove into the water with splashes like dive bombers. It was an amazing sight.

We also saw a pair of what we think were otters. They didn't have a beaver tail and they dove and swam like an otter. By the time the camera turned on, they would dive again. You could see minnows and small fish jumping where they were swimming under the water. I did catch these somewhat fuzzy pictures (not unlike the bigfoot photos, ha) of the animals when I enlarged the pictures. I didn't see the tail but my husband did and said it had nice fur, not a beaver tail, plus the heads were not course like a beaver. Maybe it is common knowledge that otters live in the lagoons but I never saw them there before. I've seen them at Oil Creek but not here. See photos below.

Also amazing is a drive after dark in Presque Isle Park, you should try it. I think the road doesn't close until 11:00 pm. Drive slowly so you don't hit any of the night-time creatures. You will see raccoons, deer, rabbits and animals you probably can't identify. The park belongs to the animals after dark.
Photos taken in late afternoon/evening on the lagoons of Presque Isle State Park. Are they otters? I'd like to hear if you have seen them there or if you think they are otters.


wavy davey said...

Can you post a higher resolution image?

Toni said...

hmmm Linda I'm not sure but I'll ask Don when he gets home tonight.

Dennis said...

Otter. Maybe but to me it looks like Grimsby, the Lake Erie monster.

eriesargonaut said...

Ha, it does look a bit like Grimbsy, I think its the eyes. :-)

wavy davey said...

Thanks for the better image. It's still kind of hard to tell, though. Not like I'm an expert or anything, but I think beavers tend to display a good portion of their backs while swimming, whereas otters show just their heads. Any observations?

We're supposed to be south of the otter's range here. Did they seem to be a bit small? If so, they could have been minks. Then again, minks tend to be solitary outside of their spring mating season. Maybe it was indeed a pair of Grimsbies (sp?--someone call Don McQuaid).

Where was the pictute taken? Long Pond?

eriesargonaut said...

They were bigger than minks but seemed to me to be smaller than beavers. I took the picture between Big Pond and Long Pond in the main open water area that the canoes follow. I plan on some more canoe trips back there and will keep my eyes out for them again. There were two of them and they both slipped under the water together and came up together. Each time they came back up they were further towards Long Pond until we lost sight of them. The lagoons are such a great place to see all kinds of animals!

eriesargonaut said...

I forgot to add that it appears by the photos that the animal has white on his neck or under his chin. White shows up in both pictures.

Dittman said...

Have you considered muskrat? They have the white markings and swim "body-up" like beavers.

eriesargonaut said...

I just looked at pictures of muskrats and that wasn't it. Plus they didn't swim above the water. They'd come up and float, mainly with just their heads up, then would dive under the water for a minute or two before resurfacing. Minnows were hopping out of the water above where they were swimming. I thought they were after fish but I guess anything moving under the water would cause the fish to jump ahead of it, like they do when a bass is prowling the area. I also thought they may be what is called a Fisher, a similar animal to otters. But I think they are solo animals, not paired. I'd love to believe they were otters but it is probably not the case. I've been trying to research about it and I don't see any information about them reintroducing them to our immediate area.

wavy davey said...

Last night I spoke with an Audubon person who is very familiar with Presque Isle. She said otters have been spotted at the park before, so maybe we should leave it at "perhaps" rather than "probably not the case."

The quest continues?

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I just starting kayaking last summer. One time in the lagoons at Presque Isle we took my small dog with us.
As we paddled around approaching a beaver dam an animal swam up behind us. I turned my kayak too quick and into the water my dog went. After quickly fishing her out I paddled away into open water, about 50 meters away.
Just as I caught my breath. I turned my head and there it was behind me swimming right at us!
We saw the same animal a few more times that afternoon following us...
Boy my adrenaline was sure going that day.
My grandparents (grandpa in the game commission) told me horror stories of beavers aggressiveness so I didn't want to mess with them. I never thought beavers were scary till that day (even me being a "corry beaver" haha. Anyway as the months passed I'm wondering if it was river otter. I honestly didn't know we had them in our area - because I've never seen one.
The more I've heard the more I believe it was an otter due to the way it swam with its head up. I've also heard otters tend to be playful and curious, while beavers will only worn you with a tail slap (though it could have been threatened we were near their damn).
So anyway I appreciate the blog!