Star Appearance at the Wetland

December 22, 2008 at 1:29 am | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Today is Itchyfingers‘ lucky day! Was comtemplating whether to get more beauty sleep or to tag along early in the morning with Tisu Boy to Sungei Buloh and I am now seriously glad that I made the right decision! Why am I so happy? Because of a special star appearance at the main hide this morning!

It was a busy school-holiday Sunday. Itchyfingers were resting at the main hide when a big group of local visitors came in with a volunteer guide. The children were running around and making a lot of noises and I wondered how many adults were paying attention to the guide. It was low tide and there weren’t that many birds around. Bored, I scanned around with my binos. Just when I put in down, I saw at the other end something big and black in the water, swimming. “Must be the Monitor Lizard”, I said to myself, as the reptile is a common and guaranteed sighting at the reserve. But something unusual about the way it swam made me pick up my binos again. My jaw almost dropped!

It was an otter!

Yes! An otter! This was the second time I saw an otter and I immediately told Tisu Boy!

It was at the far end from the main hide, but being such an uncommon sight, I was very excited and anxiously asked Tisu Boy to quickly take a shot, even if it were to be a small record shot. The next moment I turned over, Tisu Boy had already disappeared…so I guessed he must had ran off to the other side hoping for a better view. I just wished he had taken a record shot from the hide first before running off cos I was so worried the otter might just dived in and disappeared again like the last time! I could feel my heart beating faster from this sudden adrenaline rush! :O

While Itchyfingers were scurrying around and the otter swimming to and fro; diving in and out of the water, the big group was just listening to the guide talking about the different birds with an illustrated guidesheet. As I was the only one to see the otter in the hide, I had the urge to share my excitement with someone else beside the now disappeared Tisu Boy. But at the same time, I also worried that the crowd might make so much noise that they would scare the otter further away.

About five minutes later, I couldn’t hold on to my excitement anymore and walked to the guide after he was done with his talking and told him about the otter. A while later, Tisu Boy came back as he had to meet a potential buyer for his camera equipment. He got the shots. I mean HE GOT THE SHOTS! :O!

The Smooth Otter swimming….

He was diving in and out of the water…

The group was led out by the guide to the other side to see if they could catch a better view and I also went out to try my luck. I could hear the flapping sound made by the otter as I walked, and at last, a short distance later, near the viewing hide, I saw him up close swimming! :O I couldn’t believe my luck! It was really such an exciting moment! :O

He disappeared after everyone else had seen him. Feeling happy, I headed back to the hide, only to find him there swimming in the water just in front of the main hide! My goodness! So cute!

I didn’t dream that I could get such close and clear view of the otter!

He continued swimming and diving in and out..then the next moment when he popped out his cute head…

He had something pinkish in his mouth!

A big fish! A tilapia fish?

The next minute or so had to be one of the most unforgettable moments for Itchyfingers! With the huge fish grasped tightly in his mouth, the Smooth Otter ran out of the shallow water onto the mudflat, pausing momentarily! At the same time, out from nowhere a juvenile White-bellied Fish Eagle came circling quite low and for a moment we all thought he wanted to snatch the fish from the otter! He followed the otter again after making a turn. The otter then continued running aross the mudflat; over the vegetation; crossed to the other bank and then mysteriously disappeared while the eagle still circled low! All these happened so fast in that minute or so, right in front of us at such a close distance! I almost went into a state of ecstasy! Only now did I realised that Tisu Boy was cursing and swearing cos he had switched to his big 600mm lens while talking to his potential buyer and all the actions from the otter were too close for his lens! :O Arrrrghhhhhh! The result?

Missing the tail cos the otter was too close to fit into the whole picture…. :O

The fish eagle that caused much distraction….

The otter didn’t come back for a second helping…and I didn’t manage to find it again when I walked over the other side. But he had already made our day!

I was one very happy Itchyfingers today…. 😀

Also see related post:
> Smooth Sailor at the Wetland


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