Coastal otters, like coastal people, are not a different species, it’s just a lifestyle choice. They enjoy the sea food but not the salt which clogs up their fur and they need to rinse themselves out in fresh water. So this is why estuaries are a good choice when selecting an area for a coastal otter survey.
We worked our way along the mouth of the estuary at Rhosneigr, then upstream through the dunes, past the busy and noisy RAF Valley runway, towards the golf course. It wasn’t until we got to the bridge by the clubhouse that we found our first spraints – 8 one end and 1 at the other.
Was it a single otter or many otters? Dog or bitch? In a few weeks time we will know when the DNA has been analysed at the Waterford Institute of Technology, helping us to build up a picture of the otter population and the territorial ranges of individuals.
What we were doing was being repeated by 6 other groups of volunteers around the coast of Anglesey all organised by Menter Môn. My group leader was Ceri Morris, project officer for MISE - Mammals in a Sustainable Environment, a project looking into a range of mammals (including bats, dormice, red squirrels and harvest mice) that runs on both sides of the Irish Sea.
As well as leading our part of the survey she took time out to record an interview for the BBC Radio Wales Country Focus programme broadcast Sunday 2nd October.
Here’s a short clip of Ceri and Dawn seeking out otter spraints - note the very elegant footwear!