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Whidbey Island River Otters near Crockett Lake

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Sometimes you head out in search of some birds and happen upon something a little different. This weekend we had the pleasure of observing this family of river otters between Crockett Lake and Admiralty Bay just east of the Coupeville Ferry on Whidbey Island. We had been vacationing on Whidbey for the weekend and enjoying some fantastic sunny weather while birding when we met another birder who suggested we look for a Snow Bunting that was spotted near Crockett Lake. Excited to add a lifer to our list we took the short drive over and gave it our best shot to spot the little toasted marshmallow bird. After about an hour with no sign and kids who were bored we decided to move along. As we made our way back towards home we saw some large birds (which turned out to be Short-eared Owls) hunting in a field to our left so we agreed we would make a quick stop at the pullout ahead. After we parked we looked up and were surprised to see something splashing in the water in one of the large tide pools on the Admiralty Bay side of the highway. Suddenly we realized there was a family of river otters swimming around and yacking it up while they hunted and ate. We walked over to get a better view but were careful not to approach too closely. There was a couple seated on the shore near the otters and they didn’t seem to be afraid at all. After about five minutes the couple got up to leave and encouraged us to go take up their position to hear the chatter of the friendly animals …we approached carefully and got to see them swimming about. After a few minutes they began to swim away so we made our way back towards the car. Suddenly we realized we were walking toward the otters who had posted up on a log near the parking lot to enjoy the bounty their hunt had materialized. There they sat sunbathing and feasting on a Flounder, likely a Pacific Sand Dab or some other flatfish not far from the road and we stood in aww as we watched nature unfold in front of us.

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