I haven’t had a post about the Little River Airport in some time. For any new readers you can find out about the airport here. I have birded the airport almost every Saturday for at least 7 years and yesterday had an exciting find. As I was rounding one of the many ponds to the west, a head popped out of the water.
No it wasn’t the Loch Ness Monster but a River Otter. I could hear that it was eating something crunchy. I suspect it was a crayfish since I know they are in the ponds. It swam to the far shore where I realized there was a drainage ditch and black plastic drainage pipe from another pond. I got over to that area in time to hear it walking through the pipe into the other pond. Walking over to that side of the pipe I could hear the otter less than 2 feet from me but I couldn’t see it because of the vegetation. I could hear it breathing and grunting. Never did get a good picture.
It would be interesting to know the path this otter took to get to the airport ponds. The Albion River is closest on the east side of the airport. The ponds are on the west side. There are two small creeks on the west side, Schoolhouse and Buckhorn Creeks, that flow into the ocean. There are many small ponds (a water source for the Little River Golf Course) that are connected by drainage pipes in the area. Wikipedia states that, “North American river otters are highly mobile and have the capacity of traveling up to 42 km (26 mi) in one day.”
Other sightings at the airport were an Osprey with a fish flying over and a Greater Yellowlegs (a first Summer sighting). It was somewhat eerie hearing the Yellowlegs coming out of the fog and calling as it circled over me. Ospreys have been rare this year at the airport. Used to see them almost every time.