Building an Otter Holt
Philip Precey, the Trust’s Water for Wildlife Officer, co-ordinates Derbyshire’s otter monitoring project. He explains: ‘Otters are very shy and nocturnal, so they are seldom seen, although we have had a few confirmed sightings of the animals themselves. The signs that we usually look for are their droppings, known as spraints, which are used as scent markings, and their tracks in soft sand or mud next to rivers.’ He also says that signs have recently been found on some of the smaller watercourses, with regular animals along both the Hilton and Henmore Brooks. Occasional ‘positives’ have also come from the Erewash, Amber and Wye and a dead male found just across the Cheshire border last autumn, together with two likely footprints more recently, suggests that there may be otters back on the Goyt catchment.
We have built one Otter Holt at the Marina and, on a dry but grey June Sunday, the Volunteer Group did some of the work towards building another. We know it’s unlikely that Otters will occupy these holts but it’s nice to feel we’re providing appropriate habitats for every kind of wildlife that just might arrive.