The footprints in the mud tell its own story. An Otter has reached the shores of the Farne Islands for the first time ever and this wasn’t just any ordinary site, this is Brownsman, an island three miles out in the North Sea off the north Northumberland coast.
It’s staggering that an Otter could survive the perilous journey out to the Farne Islands, especially Brownsman which is so far from shore. There was initial shock and disbelief amongst us as we looked down and discovered the tracks. Just how the animal made it over is almost beyond belief. It’s tough enough for an engine driven boat to navigate the currents and rip tides, but an Otter?! Wow!
This is the first occasion that Otters have been sighted on the Farnes and this probably reflects the boom in the population around the north-east region. The tracks were discovered in the muddy pathway where our old boardwalk was sited (it's been ripped up for a new walkway) and they run for about ninety foot up the island. Although we don't know the age of animal, it maybe safe to assume that it is a young animal exploring from its home territory and it may remain around the islands for some time to come. The rocky islands will offer it a safe place to live as it should find an abundant food supply even during the winter months.
So forget the 80,000 seabirds, 3,800 Grey Seals, come and see the famous Farnes Otters! How strange does that sound and I never thought I would be saying that within my lifetime. My next mission is to see it! It’ll make the next few weeks even more interesting and I'll keep you all posted. As for the rest of the Farnes, those wintry showers with strong winds have just cranked up a notch and those Seal pups really could be in serious trouble...