Monday, May 3, 2010
Ever since PG&E drained the flume a couple weeks ago -- mainly to remove dead trees on the banks -- I've had an eye open for bank burrows.
Last year I saw otters dive and disappear into the banks in several places, and now I've had a chance to confirm the presence of burrows.
The burrow left of center for example is normally underwater, and in the summer it's completely hidden by Indian rhubarb.
Today we stumbled on a lone otter and I found another burrow.
The muddy water caught my eye, but I assumed it was due to someone's dog.
The next thing I knew Fred was in the water, and I saw a flash of movement under the surface -- the otter.
Otters can tooth-slash a dog as easily as a person, and it took only a few excited curses to get Fred out of the water.
But this otter behaved oddly -- it refused to leave the area, and it didn't retreat into the nearby burrow.
So while Fred fidgeted on the berm I took pictures as the animal rested on the gunnite bank.
Its small size told me it was a female.
Possibly there's a litter in that burrow, but if so I'd expect an aggressive male to be present.
I got the feeling she is an outcast.
Who knows? . . . Maybe the scars on her shoulder and flank were from a fight.
Signs of old age were there too. Her lower canines were broken off at the gumline.