Sunday, 19 May 2013

Otter Campsite

Otters were on the menu this weekend and when I told a friend I’d be joining in the big survey on the Dwyryd he replied that he’d been at a meeting in Porthmadog in March where the Welsh speech was being translated via headphones. In the middle of the speech several people left the room while he carried on listening. Much later over coffee one of the people who walked out asked him why he hadn’t bothered to go and see the otters. That bit of information had not been translated! Those that did go out witnessed an attack by a dog otter successfully defended by the mother protecting her young cubs in the harbour. What a magic moment that would have been to see.

After the Sunday breakfast briefing we split into groups and set off to our sections of the Dwyryd armed with empty bags for collecting spraint. Five of us had the section from the Maentwrog bridge up to Dol Moch bridge and during the day we bagged 25 samples which will be DNA analysed to potentially identify the sex and the individual otters operating on the Dwyryd.

The hot spot was the Llechrwd Campsite where the stream crossing underneath the main road meets the river; we collected 15 samples in this area. Three young lads camped at the junction of the stream with the river said they’d heard noises of rocks at night time. Maybe it was the otters. Just opposite was a large shelf beneath the bank going in about 4 or 5 feet with many spraints; a safe haven for resting up or feasting on fish.

We ate our picnic amongst the wild flowers and damselflies beside the river with a dipper bobbing up and down on the other side.  Sand Martins nest in the bank and, although we didn’t see any, there are occasional Kingfisher sightings.

What a beautiful camp site with wildlife on the doorstep. I think Dyfyrgi (otter) Campsite would make a much better name than Llechrwd Campsite.    

Here's Mary-Kate from the Snowdonia Society explaining the finer points of bagging the poo!

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