Otter at Ackworth

I’ve seen mink on the Went at Ackworth School in the past and I’ve recently spent some time trying to get trailcam video, without success. I was very pleased, therefore, to find out earlier today that some of the groundsmen put out a camera before Christmas and managed to get a very exciting set of clips.

The camera recorded the expected mink but it also recorded visits by an otter. It is great to see that otter are now living in Ackworth after being missing for many years because of the effects of persecution and insecticides such as DDT.

You will see that the otter pauses to scent-mark the dark object – probably a broken brick – before entering the river. The fox that visits the same spot also pauses to leave its scent.

Although the distinctive tapering tail of the otter allows us to be sure about identification, it would be nice to get a shot of the otter’s face and this will be the objective in the coming weeks.

Bramham Park flowers

Bramham Park is always a delight for any naturalist and never more so than in June when it is awash with wildflowers.  Abundant common spotted orchids were amongst the unmown grass interspersed with bee orchid, yellow rattle and twayblade.  To the side of the path sanicle, lady’s mantle and yellow pimpernel flourished under the beech trees Arriving at the obelisk pond, small toadflax, monkey flower, red pimpernel and wall lettuce grew amongst the gravel and stone. The mown lawn area has encouraged thyme, selfheal, milkwort, tormentil and rock rose to thrive in a pattern of purple and yellow in the short grass.  The long grass to the right of the Gothic temple is home at this time of year to leopard’s bane, hedge woundwort, heath speedwell, water avens and columbine. Once again a lovely, tranquil visit to Bramham Park.

Common spotted ortchid

Common spotted ortchid

Leopard's bane

Leopard’s bane

Wild thyme

Wild thyme

Heath speedwell

Heath speedwell