In one of the woods I visit occasionally, hidden in a secret spot next to a stream, there is a fallen tree that has been left undisturbed for many years.The trunk lies at the perfect hight to make a comfortable bench, somewhere to rest quietly and enjoy a few moments of peace. Lingering there a while ago, I realised that I had almost put my hand in a patch of fresh otter spraint. I haven’t sat there since, I wasn’t too worried about getting mucky, but it felt intrusive somehow, it was someone else’s spot! As the months passed it became clear it was a fairly regular sprainting point and I realised it was the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of one of the wood’s most elusive visitors, on film at least. With the land owners permission, I roped in my husband and we set up our trail camera in a well hidden position with an uninterrupted view of the log and the adjacent stream. We did capture the otter, looking,sleek, well fed, and very much at home.
Needless to say we were delighted, but it wasn’t the only animal that was laying claim to this little piece of woodland property. We replaced the card in the camera and left it for a while longer. What we saw when we downloaded the footage was astonishing. The otter had apparently moved elsewhere, but it wasn’t the only creature marking the log, it was also being visited regularly by at least one badger, and two different foxes.
For some reason this fallen tree by a small stream, somewhere I thought of as one of my special places, has a significance to the true owners of the wood that I will probably never understand.