Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Serendipity is...

Glancing out the window at work while in the middle of a discussion about bird feeding and seeing this:

The less dramatic but non-seasickness-inducing version:

I have seen far more dead River Otter in Cape May County than live otter. The peninsula isn't, or wasn't, ever truly solid ground; many creeks crossed and criss-crossed the land and in some places they still do. Unfortunately, highways now cross the creeks, and otter are only one of the many victims.

So when I looked out the window and saw a live otter, I perhaps screamed a bit. Not too loudly (I'm trying). I knew this oversized pond had otter although this isn't where I had my one live sighting. But to learn the lake also had American Eel was icing on the cake. (A frantic rush to Wikipedia jogged loose what I had learned a long time ago about eels: I knew that for some part of their life cycle they lived in fresh water and headed out to sea the other half but I couldn't remember which way they went. Adults in fresh; spawn in salt. Catadromous, if you wish to get technical about it.)

We used to occasionally catch small eels in our minnow trap off our dock in Avalon, about a foot long and maybe half an inch in diameter and I remember my great uncle used to catch and eat (blech!) much larger ones. I watched a Double-crested Cormorant swallow an eel about the size of this one (couple of feet and inches around) just a year or so ago, but those eels were all in the brackish tidal zone of the back bay salt marshes, not an apparently land-locked little city lake... Wow.

Apologies for the shaking video (iMovie actually was able to stabilize it a bit) and grainy photos (which I had to screen-capture).