Standing by the river's edge
What causes fish to leap out of the water?
Have you ever spent an entire day by the river, simply observing the water flow and discovering all the life that congregates around it? It’s a simple activity, but it exudes a great deal of peace.
I’ve always felt a great fascination for the otter. For its cute appearance and swimming abilities, and most of all because it’s an endangered species, difficult to spot and synonymous with a great state of conservation of the environment. That’s why, under the excuse of being able to see and photograph an otter, I like to approach the rivers. To sit on the bank. And wait…
Early in the morning, before the sun has risen, is one of the most magical moments. There is no wind, the water is calm, and only the birds can be heard. I focus on the surface of the water. Any movement can be key to discovering an otter before it returns to its den.
Often nothing extraordinary happens. But nature is always wonderful. As the golden light begins to caress the landscape, the reflections on the water become increasingly precise. The green leaves of spring create very vivid tones. And the sound of a fish jumping snaps me back to reality. Then, I always ask myself the same question, why do fish jump?
Early in the morning it’s easy to see a kingfisher or a cattle egret. And when I’m lucky, also some raptors like a pair of black kites, collecting branches to build their nest in a tree near where I had hidden myself early in the morning. The activity around the river never stops.
I see a great cormorant silhouette with its wings spread after having hidden itself, the sun is starting to shine more. It will not take long for it to be dry again.
In spring, insects and pollen take over the air. And when I look at the environment with binoculars, everything transforms. All the details become important and I have a new world in front of me. Insects do not stay still while a yellow wagtail tries to catch some.
Everything is very simple. But when I pay attention, I discover magical details.
A new foggy morning gives me precious moments. A kingfisher approaches me immersed in the bluish atmosphere that anticipates the sunrise. I have a few seconds to photograph it, before it dives and disappears.
The otter often does not appear anywhere. But waiting for it, by the river’s edge, is always a privilege. And I always have the memory of the moments when I’ve been able to see it…
The Otter in Catalonia: an endangered species
Since 1995, when otters were reintroduced to the rivers of Catalonia, the situation of this aquatic mammal has improved progressively.
The conservation of their habitat (rivers, lakes, lagoons and wetlands) is key to the survival of this species. The presence of otters in river systems is a great bioindicator of the state of a river.
Pollution, destruction of habitat and overuse of water resources have been the main causes of regression of their populations. Gradually, these factors that threaten their populations are being reduced. But there is still much work to be done.
Currently, the coypu, an invasive species from South America, is also a threat to the banks of Catalonia. These animals, with a appearance similar to a beaver, have proliferated a lot in recent years. They are a real threat to otter ecosystems and the rest of the species that live around the rivers. However, in order to regulate their populations, strategies that respect these animals’ lives should be prioritized: sterilization, capture and relocation…