Otters and Dolphins at Tendaba

It wasn’t just Ospreys that we saw while we were in West Africa. One of the highlights for many of the second group was an evening boat trip at Tendaba. Here’s why…

 

Sunday 29th January

 

In the afternoon we headed back across the River Gambia for another boat trip. It was now high tide and that would ensure there was no repeat of yesterday’s fun and games. Bird-wise, things were fairly quiet, but despite this the trip turned out to be one of the highlights of our time in West Africa. At high tide many of the crocodiles which inhabit the mangroves lie beside the creek, and like our trip with the first group, we enjoyed some really good viewsof several before they slipped off into the water. One individual, in particular, was very confiding and allowed us to get almost a little too close for comfort! If that was good, then what came next was almost unbelievable. As we rounded a corner, John shouted Otter. Initially I couldn’t see anything and I thought I had missed it – they are normally such elusive creatures. I needn’t have worried though. It appeared again a few seconds later from between some mangrove roots and JJ started squeaking, like you would to try and temp a Stoat or Weasel out in to the open. The Otter was clearly very interested in what it was hearing and came out into full view on the bank. Clawless Otters are much bigger and heavier than their European counterparts and the sheer bulk of this animal, particularly its very broad tail, was apparent as soon as it was out of the water. Amazingly, for the next ten minutes, with JJ continuing to squeak, the Otter followed the boat, running along the bank beside us, and even rearing up on to its hind legs to try and work out what was making the noise. It was truly incredible.