Photographer’s rule #1: Have a camera.
You just never know when the magic moment is going to happen. In this case, during a drive to Wenatchee the Icicle TV crew happened to spot these river otters laying on the ice. We had no camera to record what would surely be a short encounter. A quick phone call to local photographer Ken Hemberry who raced to the scene and brought home this remarkable series of photos.
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River otters are notoriously elusive. The typical otter has a huge range, up to 60 river miles. Primarily noctournal, these members of the weasel family are constantly on the move, sometimes swimming several miles in a day, hunting for fish, crustations, bugs, reptiles and whatever else it can find. The entire Wenatchee river can fit into the possible range of this family.
This encounter went from cool to awesome when one of the otters brought up a steelhead for dinner. This is where the playful image of otter diverges with reality. The victorious hunter jealously guarded it’s catch from the others and devoured this large wild fish.
Steelhead are among the heartiest of the salmonoids, repeatadly migrating between the ocean and it’s home stream. Perfering the deep, fast water, this steelhead reveals a beautiful red stripe along it’s flank, a sign of it’s spawning colors. Unfortunately this fish’s demise comes early, but the rich meat and fat will sustain this rarest of aquatic preadators through the cold winter months.
Otters and steelhead are important creatures in our local ecosystem and seeing them is a good sign that the hard work of people dedicated to protecting our fragile river systems is working, but the sober reality is human encroachment strains the seams of many local river ecosystems.
Icicle TV is dedicated to capturing the moment, if you capture an excelent photo, video or have a story to tell drop us a line at: email@example.com or on our Facebook page. Remember rule #1, have a camera!