Tag Archives: otter

Otter Blowing Bubbles

While looking at some shots of this otter swimming in Juanita Bay, I noticed it was breathing out through its nose and creating some bubbles in the water ahead of it.  It seemed like a silly thing but of course will happen all of the time when they are swimming.  However, I like the idea that it is being silly and doing it on purpose so let’s go with that instead.

Otter Skirting The Bay

We have a few otters that are regulars in Juanita Bay.  One afternoon, while waiting to see what would show up, one of them could be seen swimming along the shoreline across the inlet from where I was.  It seemed to be on the move rather than hunting so the question was where would it go?  It headed right into the inlet and then came along the shore.  It would pop out of the water on to the land and wander a little before slipping back into the water.

It came around the edge of the inlet and up towards where we were on the boardwalk.  Would it try and cross under us?  No, it continued along the edge of the water swimming and then climbing on to land again.  Back to the water, around the edge of the inlet and then around to the open part of the bay.  It stayed close to the edge but kept on moving and disappeared around the corner and to the larger lake.  At its closest, it was in the long grass which meant getting a clear shot was tricky.  Still, it was pretty close for a long time which is unusual for the otters.

Down in the Slough at Kenmore

It has taken a while for this post from the 75th anniversary celebrations at Kenmore Air.  They operated one of the planes from the slough that runs alongside the base.  They had back taxied one of the Otters to start its takeoff run from earlier to mean it was taking off close to the spectators.  Then, when landing, they brought it down in the slough again.  It made for a great view of the plane compared to the normal departures and arrivals way out in Lake Washington.

Otter Underwater

Photographing animals underwater through glass walls on their enclosures is a bit hit or miss.  The otters in one of the enclosures at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo were playing near the glass a lot so I figured I would give it a go.  You aren’t going to get razor sharp shots since that glass is very thick but sometimes it can work out okay.  This otter was more than happy to perform for the camera.

Wind And Rain Have A Benefit Sometimes

I may have complained a little about the weather being damp and windy during our trip to Victoria but there was one upside to this.  Unfortunately, it took one missed opportunity before I realized.  The wind was strong and from the west.  The normal approach for Harbour Air is to come in through the opening to the harbor and then touch down in the outer area before taxiing into the Inner Harbour.  With the wind coming from the opposite direction, they reversed the flow.

I had seen this once before on a previous visit to Victoria many years ago and had forgotten it could happen.  Our hotel was located right on the corner of the shoreline around which the planes would approach and we had a view out of our (not huge) window as they came around to touch down.  The first time I realized I could get the shot, I had to make so with shooting through the window.  This does not do much for image quality but it was still okay and I got an Otter coming in.

The next time something was due, I planned ahead.  The window of our room did open but it only opened a very small amount.  Not enough to get a camera out of except when looking off to one side.  However, the restriction on opening was the result of a small screw that was in the track for the window and it was not very securely fastened.  With my fingertip, I was able to remove the screw and with that out of the way, the window could fully open.  A Twin Otter was on the way so this time I was ready to get a clearer shot.  There is plenty of warning of their arrival because the sound of the props reaches you long before the plane does.  Besides, they are on final approach so hardly going too fast.  The only downside to this shot is that the touchdown location is further around and out of sight of where we were.  Bad weather can have its benefits.

Harbour Air Movements In The Rain

I had a bit of time one morning during our Victoria stay to walk along the shoreline.  The hotel that we were staying in was right on the shore so I only had to step outside and then I could walk around to the more open are of the harbor.  This also meant I could get some shots of the Harbour Air operations.  Their floatplane base is in the Inner Harbour area but the planes taxi out to the outer areas for departure.

I was able to get some shots of arrivals and departures as well as taxiing planes.  Some of those I could shoot from our hotel window when I wanted to stay dry!  I was happy to shoot the Otter movements but I was more interested in the Twin Otters.  We have plenty of Otters around here with Kenmore but Twin Otters are not common down here so some variety was welcome.  Besides, it is a bigger plane so a little easier to shoot at a distance!

Otters in the Sammamish

With mum visiting from the UK, we took a walk along the Sammamish River Trail.  The river was very high as a result of the heavy rains we had experienced in the preceding days.  The river has otters living in it and I was hoping we might see one.  As it turned out, we saw four.  A group of four otters was moving up river diving for food as they went.  I wished I had brought a longer lens with me but you go with what you have.  Of course, they chose to stay on the other side of the river for much of the time but it was fun to watch them anyway.  They got a lot of attention from the other people on the trail too.

Lake Union Seaplane Base is Busy – But Not With Us!

We flew across Lake Union on our way back to Kenmore so went over the top of Kenmore Air’s base there.  It turned out to be a busy time for the base.  There were a bunch of planes on the water heading in and out of the base with others tied up awaiting their next flight.  Having watched ops at the base on a number of occasions, the view from above provided a very different perspective to what I have seen before.  At some point I hope to fly in there to experience it for myself.

How Could I Avoid Stanley Park?

I had a work day up in Vancouver.  I finished up in the office at the end of the day just when rush hour traffic would be at its worst.  The sun was out and the temperature was still nice so I figured I might delay my drive home for an hour or so and head to Stanley Park.  It is a nice place to hang out, there is always plenty going on in the harbor and the floatplane departures might have factored in to my decision making.

There is a bit of an evening rush of departures but, with the days getting shorter and floatplane operations being a very visual thing, I figured they wouldn’t be going out too late if they were to be back before dark.  I was actually pretty lucky as there was a wave of departures shortly after I got there and then, when I thought it had all wrapped up, another burst of flights headed out.  Meanwhile, there were arrivals coming overhead for landing.  It killed a bit of time and made for an easier drive home when I headed back south again.

Damp Days for Floatplanes Means Prop Vortices!

A couple of Kenmore Air planes departed from Kenmore while I was at Log Boom Park.  The conditions were pretty damp and humid (and were about to be joined by pretty heavy downpours of rain!).  This meant the departing planes had a good chance of pulling some streamers from the prop tips.  Sure enough, when the Otter took off (and it started the takeoff run a little early which helped the shooting angles) the prop was streaming some vapor.  The shape of the cone of the tip vortices as they flow across the fuselage was quite interesting.

A little while later (and just before the downpour began), a turbo Beaver came out.  It, too, pulled some nice vapor from the prop tips as it accelerated across the water.  A bit of a cross wind was apparently coming in (no doubt related to the impending storm) and they got airborne one float at a time.  At this point we retreated to the car – but not in time to avoid the rain entirely!