Otters at Dawn, Shetland

I set out early this morning to try to catch a glimpse of a fairly close conjunction of the thin waning crescent moon and Venus, just 2° apart. The moon and Venus both rose at just before 6 AM, while the sun rose about 7:30, meaning that it would be getting too bright to see them much past 6:30. By that time the pair would be about 5° above the horizon, so a clear view of a cloud-free, south-easterly horizon was required. That is to be had a mere 5 minutes from home overlooking Breiwick so that is where I headed. However, I was a bit careless and slightly miscalculated where the moon and Venus would rise. I was expecting them to rise from the sea just west of Bressay light but there was cloud on the horizon so I wouldn’t have seen them if they had risen there.  Except they didn’t and I regretted my sloppiness when, about ten-past-six I saw the pair rising above Bressay, by this time fading into the brightening sky. So I managed to get a few reasonable photographs anyway, just not quite the compositions I had envisaged!

Click to view larger images

Because I hadn’t been paying attention when deciding on my viewing location I had decided to go to Breiwick but, whilst not as good a location as I could have chosen for the astronomical pairing, it turned out to be the perfect location for another pair, which I would have missed if I had chosen another site. Just as I was about to pack my gear away I heard a commotion down by the shore; oystercatchers were upset at something. I looked into the gloom and there was a pair of otters rushing about like mad things, in and out of the sea. Fortunately my camera was still on the tripod with my telephoto lens on so I was able to get a few minutes video footage. It’s too dark to be anything more than a record of the sighting but I was a thoroughly happy chappy as I stood and watched the pair for a good 10 minutes before something disturbed them and they left.

I have often heard tales of otters being seen in this part of Lerwick and seen video of otters elsewhere in the town too but all my own sightings of otters have been in country areas. So in the end I was pleased I’d gone to a less than perfect location to view the pairing in the cosmos because it rewarded me with a quite unexpected pairing on the shoreline! Plus, even though the quality of the video isn’t great, it’s a nice reminder of my little early morning treat.

2 Responses to “Otters at Dawn, Shetland”

  1. George Graham Says:

    lovely wee video Austin, and your oics are very good ..


  2. austinsphotos Says:

    Thanks George!

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