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Issue No. 83 [Back Issues]
14th February 2006

This Week - [Live BBC Interview - Latest Ross-on-Wye Otter Photographs]
[Men and Motors (Wyedean Rally) - Ross-on-Wye Kingfishers - X-centricity Oscars]
[Dandelion Killers - Letters and Readers Photographs - Heritage Centre Elephants III - Rugby]
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Live BBC Interview

BBC Hereford & Worcester called again last week about the Ross-on-Wye Otters and about Wyenot News and this morning, Monday 13th February, I agreed to being interviewed whilst photographing wildlife by the River Wye outside the White Lion pub at Wilton. Dave Newman, Landlord of the White Lion came along also and told listeners how he regularly sees otters from the pub window. For you beer drinkers out there, Dave has specially bought in some 'Otter Bitter' for the season, so why not go along and enjoy a pint or several.

I do not usually like doing radio interviews but Julie Tyler is a nice radio reporter. We had met a couple of times before at various news events and as well as discussing wildlife, we had a laugh live on air about my experience of moving from East London to Ross-on-Wye in 1976. I had told Julie off air about how the local newspapers in Barking, where I grew up were about half an inch thick and, sadly, contained weekly reports of murders and rapes. The first week I moved to Ross, on the front page of the Ross Gazette, the worst crime news was that somebody had been caught by the police, urinating in a telephone box. Ross is a far more tranquil place to live than London and I would never go back. I was not sure myself that this story would be good to relate on air but Julie disagreed, so I did mention it. I also mentioned how helpful the Ross Gazette had been, supporting Wyenot News.

On the funny side. I did not tell many people that the broadcast about otters was coming up as I was a little embarrassed about it. I did tell my friend, Kevin however whilst we had morning coffee in the Hope & Anchor on Sunday morning. As we went our separate ways afterwards, Kevin jokingly said to me, 'I'll give you a tenner if you can get the word 'rissoles' into the interview.' Well to me, there is nothing like a challenge! Sorry Kev, you owe me a tenner but I'll settle for breakfast at the Cantilupe Café on Thursday morning. If you are wondering how . . .

'I was at first worried about giving away the location of the otters in case local restaurants start putting otter rissoles on the menu but I have since found out that otter hunting is virtually a hanging offence . . .'


Dave Newman, Julie Tyler and myself at Wilton. Ref: DSCN1664

The latest Ross-on-Wye Otter photos

As promised, here are some more photographs of the Ross-on-Wye otters, which I took this week on Wednesday, 8th February by the White Lion pub at Wilton and from Wilton Bridge.

I was previously a little worried about giving precise locations for fear of attracting otter hunters with guns but I have done so having been reliably informed that otters are a protected species and therefore otter hunting stops a little short of being a hanging offence.

I think Wilton is virtually at the end of the otters' territory but I have seen them there several times now and if you want to watch them in comfort, visit the White Lion during the afternoon before dusk, where you can often see them from the bar. Dave, Landlord of the pub has been a tremendous help in my effort to photograph otters by phoning me when they appear. This has cut down the leg work and saved my frozen hands - even if I did very nearly go base over apex and drop a very expensive Nikon camera into the water the first time I negotiated the slippery rocks in the river.

Below there are a couple of 'cute otter face poking out of the water' pictures, plus some of the otters swimming at Wilton, with the February setting sun showing up the creature's true colour.

Continued . . .


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As I mentioned initially, my ambition is to catch the otters on dry land and during the two photographs above and the one at the bottom of this page, I very nearly achieved that ambition. I was ducking down on Wilton Bridge so as not to be seen from the river, taking photos over the edge of an otter climbing onto the bank when a family approached, with children. 'Look boys, there's an otter' etc.. That was the end of that. The otter dived not to be seen for the rest of that day.

If you want to spot otters swimming in the river, wear dark clothing, move as little as possible and be as quiet as you can. The otters are used to the noise of the traffic but are extremely coy about meeting people.


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