Yes those are Otters (2)
Originally uploaded by Mully410
My regular readers know that I hang out at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area pretty regularly. Tonight, I noticed the clouds were in a good position for a potentially cool sunset. What I didn't predict was how much great wildlife I'd see and how cold I'd get standing around for a hour waiting for the best light.
Lake Marsden is located inside a Minnesota National Guard reserve located within the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. TCAAP has a long history and you'll find some interesting stuff if you google it. In the 1990s, the US Army made a nice little spot to view wildlife before they handed the property over to the guard. This spot is about 1/4 of an acre and is surrounded by an eight foot high chain link fence, topped with 4 rows of barbed wire.
I rode my great retro Schwinn out there with my binocular, tripod and camera strapped to my back. The ice is almost gone from Lake Marsden so I figured I start seeing some wildlife. I first noticed the noise. Geese, Swans, Ducks and lots of Red Winged Blackbirds were all yapping away. I got the tripod all setup, composed a good shot and scoped the area out with my binoculars. While I waited for the "best light," I wandered around the small enclosed area and took some pics. I think I got some interesting ones of trees, fences and a sign.
Once the sun retreated behind the trees, I really started snapping the pics. It was pretty cold out and I wasn't dressed for standing around in the wind with 30F temps. Doh. Every few minutes, I'd put my camera in my pocket, with my hands, and waited until they both warmed up a little bit.
During one of my hand warming sessions, I failed to notice a bald eagle land in a tree about a 100 yards from me. I scramble to get the camera ready and manage a few crude shots of it in flight.
Finally, after freezing my ass off for an hour and a half, I'd had enough. I put the tripod away and danced around to get the circulation going. With the camera put away and hands in pockets, I look out toward the lake. The otters! I'd watched four river otters many times last fall. I saw 3 of them tonight. Great news that they survived the winter. They were swimming and diving all over the place. Occasionally, one or two of them would hop onto the ice and eat something. At one point, one otter looked like it was trying pull the other otter back into the water. Funny.
All in all, it was a pretty fun evening at the TCAAP Wildlife Viewing Area. I took 139 shots and found 39 that are worthy of posting on my Flickr photo stream. Go here to pull up all 39. Come back to my blog often. I'll post lots of updates throughout the summer.