With a sucker wriggling in his mouth, the otter came up the muddly river bank and laid his meal among the fallen yellow orange sumac leaves. He shook his thick coat from his ears to the tip of his long thick tail. Then he looked around in every direction to see if anyone was watching him. Satisfied he was alone, he began munching the fish and in no time the sucker, tail and all, was gone.
Little did the otter know I was watching him with binoculars as I sat next to a tree on the hillside across the river. Finished with his fish dinner, the otter licked his webbed paws and rubbed them over his ears and down his chest. Satisfied that he was clean, he quickly slid off the bank and back into the river. Even as big as he is, up to 25 pounds and 30 inches long, he has no trouble catching a slippery fish.
Thinking that maybe the otter would catch another fish, I sat still and watched for him to appear on the bank again with another fishy prize. About 10 minutes went by before I finally got up and moved on with my walk. As I walked down a deer trail along the river, I was thinking of how good a fisherman the otter was. Just then the laughing call of a belted kingfisher caught my attention as he flew over me. He too is one of the better fishers but dines on little fish. The kingfisher flew straight up the river laughing his rattling laugh as he went. He will find a nice perch overlooking a quiet pool where the minnows swim. From above he will dive head first into the water and stealthily catch one of the little fish. His fishing skills are much different than that of the otter, but no less effective.
I saw an otter the other day–
Near the river I watched him play–
He dropped his chin–
And slid right in–
Then quickly swam away–
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