We truly thought that what we experienced was a once in a lifetime thing. To see a river otter in the creek that runs through our Secret Garden, was unbelievable in and of itself; but, for Michael to have actually got a few pictures was even more incredible (See previous post).
The evening that followed that eventful first sighting was somewhat low key. As we sat on the balcony, I tried not to look down at the creek with any expectations. However, I secretly was hoping that the little river otter would visit us again. I even hoped that perhaps he lived in our secret garden. In an attempt to keep myself from constantly staring over at the creek, I said to Michael, "In all my 49 years, I have never seen a river otter in the wild and I don't personally know of anyone who has. I should be content with the fact that we got to see him at all and that you even got a few pictures. I have to move on and stop spending my time starring at the creek or I am not going to get anything else done."
He agreed. We laughed and then both turned our heads towards the creek.
The following evening, I went down to the creek to visit the dragon flies. As I peered into the water, I could see just the tip of the tail of the red crayfish, (the one we had spotted the previous evening) and I moved some of the algae away from the rock he was hiding under. He quickly buried himself deeper into the muddy silt and was gone from sight.
I was delighted to have the wild turkey's join me and the neighbor's little cat. They both decided to climb up into the oak tree which lay across the creek. (The mother turkey seems to tolerate the curious teenage cat. At one point, the cat was attempting to get a sniff of the turkey and she turned around and actually touched his nose with her beak. What a shot that would have been! Unfortunately, my camera was still zipped away in the camera bag that I had hanging on my shoulder.)
I went back upstairs, quite content, and joined Michael for some delightful conversation. About an hour or so later, Michael came in from the balcony and said, "Guess who's back?" as he rushed around to put on some shoes and grab his camera. I was fast behind him, and asked him to head down the path along the creek and see if he might be able to keep the otter from leaving the area. I went down to the spot where he was sighted and he had already headed south down the creek to where Michael was stationed. After about 5 minutes, I heard Michael calling from quite a distance, "He should be coming back your way".
I waited, what seemed like an hour, and finally saw the water moving under the fallen oak tree. He was indeed coming my way! My heart was pounding, as I got my camera ready. (It seems rather funny that a grown woman could get so excited and nervous about the idea of seeing this little otter; but, I was. I could barely breath. )
"There he is! There he is!" I said to myself. I wanted to let Michael know that the otter was with me, but, I was afraid that if I yelled loud enough for Michael to hear, the otter would swim away and I didn't want to do anything to scare him away before I could get a good shot of him. Surprisingly, he was not afraid of me. He was swirling around in the water--creating quite a murky mess of things. I could not get a clear shot of him, as every time I got him focused in the lens, under water he would go. I followed him along the creek as he hunted for his dinner. He would occasionally stop and pose, just long enough for me to think that I might get a clean shot. (I'm not sure if it was the excitement of seeing him so close-up or if I was just to nervous about trying to get a good picture that caused my fingers to be so jumpy that every time I took a picture it was either horribly out of focus or the camera would malfunction.) I must have taken eight or nine pictures, but none that I felt were going to really do him justice.
I followed him down the creek (north) away from where Michael was. He disappeared under the roots of a large tree that was growing close to the bank of the creek and then reappeared. "Perhaps he has a little den under that tree" I thought. When he came out from under the tree roots, he paused in a shallow area of the creek, and there was the picture that I had been waiting for. The water was like a mirror and reflected in it were the bows of the trees that loomed above the creek and the blue sky.
Ah yes, I was blessed by our second sighting and believe that there is a strong possibility that this little otter actually lives somewhere in the Secret Garden--possibly in a den under the tall tree that is growing on the bank of the creek.
If we never see him again, that will be okay--but, I have a feeling that both Michael and I will still look into the creek each evening before the sun goes down with some (perhaps unspoken) hope that he will visit us again.
By the way, Michael has determined that "he" is a actually a "she" (based on her size) and has named her, "Mehemiah".