Not exactly a passerine, but I’m always thrilled when I bump into Cape Clawless Otter. My latest otter experience was in Betty’s Bay at “Big” or “Main” beach, one of the busier beaches in the area. It wasn’t picking it’s way between beach towels, but it was about 500m from the busy swim area.
We first spotted it swimming about 20m offshore, pretty close to a fisherman, before it slowly made its way onto the beach.
What surprised me was how slowly it moved up the beach. I would have expected it to make a dash for cover, but it took about 4 minutes for it leave the water and finally disappear over the dune.
What was most striking was its rather rotund belly! We suspected it may be a pregnant female; I remember otter being a lot slimmer and streamlined than this portly individual. Any otter experts have an opinion on this?
The tail and “clawless” paw prints make for a distinctive spoor.
Chatting to a Betty’s Bay resident, Cape Clawless Otter is a regularly seen along this stretch of beach, but usually at an earlier hour in the morning.