2 Day Event summary, 2014.
This years survey was badly affected by rain and high water levels washing out sites. It is therefore difficult to make a meaningful comparison with results from previous years. 48 otters were located with 9 otters under the category of Reasonable Suspicion – 57 in total. Our average is 66.
At least 44 sites, 8%, were under water and others will have been washed by rain. There were 22 blank patches, 10 of these directly due to high water levels, the norm is 8 blank patches. 108 of you looked at 138 patches, a total of 524 sites of which 273 (52%) were positive. The average is 70%.
The otters were distributed: Exmoor in Somerset 7, North Coast 6, Tone 10, South Coast in Somerset 2, Parrett 9, Cary 0, Brue 8, North Axe 2, Frome 3, Stour 1.
We co-ordinated efforts again this year with the Exmoor National Park, John and Janet Dixon stepped in to train the Devon surveyors at the Simondsbath training day.
A further 2 otters were located during the 2 day event.
One otter not located on its flooded streams was found dead the following week after an RTA very high up the Corfe Stream, close to the springs at its source. With the unusually high water levels we may have missed other otters in unchecked tributaries.
The best examples of a Reasonable Suspicion came from an otter seen in Wells moat after the 2 day event, and Gareth Hoare whose camera captured his otter a few days before.
The by catch was also informative with a splendid record of 14 Dippers and 14 Kingfsher, 2 water vole, 3 cuckoos and 3 mink. All information forwarded to SERC.
There were difficult conditions to conduct the survey that weekend so many thanks for the dedication shown by everyone who persevered. With so many surveyors and the huge task of co-ordinating coverage it would not have been possible to postpone to another dryer more productive day.
The dates for your diaries next year are the 25th and 26th April 2015.