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Otter photography on a beautiful, icy morning

On a bitingly cold winter's morning some photographer friends and I headed down south to Buckfastleigh, to visit the Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary and Buckfast Butterfly Farm. In the minus temperatures, the sun was shining brightly, the sky clear blue and we enjoyed the drive through the beautiful South Devon countryside.

We were the only people at the centre that morning, and arriving in time for a hot cup of coffee, to our dismay discovered that the coffee shop in the South Devon Railway centre was closed. Not people to be put off by such caffeine emergencies (!) we got out our cameras anyway to spend time with the various species of otters in their frozen environments. Clad in thermals, wooly hats, scarves and coats, we spent the morning watching the otters go about their daily business in the most beautiful winter light - perfect for photography.

It was interesting to see the interactions between the otters, and how they all ensure that they are all always ok at any one time, though the two thirteen week otter cubs seemed somewhat confused that their watery home had turned solid! The otters were challenging to photograph as they can move very fast, and all together at once - it was great fun trying.

We appreciated the very educational and entertaining talk about otters at feeding time, and being the only people there we were able to ask a lot of questions. I knew very little about otters before this visit, but I am now smitten by them. They look so cuddly and their coats are so thick and soft looking, you just want to touch their fur, but should you try, these mighty little beasts can bite so hard they would put you in hospital! Otters eating is also very entertaining to watch!

Here are some of my photographs of the otters from that beautiful, frozen morning.


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