Sometimes an otter smiles

I took this photo last evening from the garden. You probably won't see anything special about it, for I have painted and posted this kind of sunset scene before. But believe it or not this is my poor attenpt at wildlife photography! See that sort of vague disturbance central in the otherwise placid waters of Loch Ewe? No, not the riffle of breeze slightly left of centre or the line of three buoys you might just be able to make out. Come down a bit. That is an otter on the hunt for her / her supper.

This has been a long winter. Not a cold one for temperatures seldom fell below freezing but with long spells of wind and rain. Today you could be forgiven for believing that Spring has arrived. I wrote (in my poem 'A Gairloch Morning') that 'This place smiles not, shows not herself / So often, nor to everyone.' But when she does smile you have to wonder if there is anywhwere on this earth that you would rather be.

Even Mr or Mrs otter seemed to be smiling when it surfaced between dives. We watched it move from right to left, perhaps half a minute to a minute from one loop-tailed dive to the next explosive surfacing. He or she often rolled in its back, four feet in the air. We knew it wasn't catching anything for it didn't stay up for long enough to eat. No, the rolling and general exubrance was all symptomatic of that good old joie de vivre, plain and simple. And why not. On an evening like this we all can smile.

I know our friend Eoghain Maclean, who is a wildlife photographer, and a very good one, is looking for otter pics. Already we are planning and working on the content of our 2014 wildlife photos and landscape paintings calendar. Wish you were here, Eoghain!

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