Saturday, June 25, 2022

Opinion: Take me to the otter side

Editor | June 15, 2022 7:10 AM

So the other day I went for a walk in Glacier and it was raining pretty steadily. The short trail we hit on the days when we don’t have enough time to hit the longer trails was flooded, which didn’t surprise me. One day it had a few inches of water over it, then a few more and then after the heavy rains we had, a few feet.

Nothing out of the ordinary, mind you, but it is a bit jarring to see Apgar Creek 10 feet wide and five feet deep and brown as chocolate milk, considering the poor stream last summer was barely a trickle, fed only by a meager spring.

Still, even with rain the calliope hummingbird was on on his perch. I suspect his mate is nesting nearby and the male guards the territory from the same lone, bare branch sticking out the brush.

If he’s not sitting on it, he’s chasing another bird off.

It’s fun to watch.

While watching the bird and I glanced across the creek and noticed a tail up in the air. It was a river otter.

So we went down the trail a bit for a better look. The otters, when they’re around (which isn’t very often) like to sit on the beaver lodge, but on this day, the lodge was completely under water. (The beavers aren’t out of a home, however. The bank is quite high and I’m sure they have burrows back there way above the water line.)

The otter was busy fishing.

He grabbed a whitefish and hauled it up on a log, gulping it down in several big chomps. It was the biggest otter I have ever seen — presumably a male — and fat. Picture a car tire tube that’s a bit overinflated — that fat.

He must have been a very good fisher.

It’s always interesting to watch something eating something else. I don’t know why. I can’t imagine eating a fish whole, but then again, I’m not an otter.

Critters eating critters is just part of life. The recent video of the grizzly bear stalking and killing a calf moose in Many Glacier was only unique in that it happened in front of the Many Glacier Hotel.

One dope on Fakebook suggested the bear be shot. For what? Doing what bears do? That’s not exactly a capital offense.

Another person then posted a video last week they got of a mountain lion with a bighorn sheep ewe in Two Medicine.

Like the griz, the only thing really unique about it was that it was near a road where people got an up close and personal view.

In my woods travels I run into a fair number of kills every year, though I have yet to witness a bear, wolf or lion taking down its prey.

I have, however, seen a wolverine eat a very dead mountain goat, a fox grab a ground squirrel and a raven with the face of a fox in its beak.

I must admit, I felt for the fox. But ravens have to eat, too.

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