The Day of the River Otters

April 04, 2017  •  7 Comments

Lake Mille Lacs is the second largest inland lake in Minnesota. It is only 10 minutes away from my house, so I go there to take pictures a lot. I especially like to shoot there during the Spring migrations. Lake Mille Lacs is a popular stopping point for many migratory birds in both Fall and Spring. Since the lake is so large, it is much easier to spot water fowl from shore during the Spring before the ice goes out on the lake.

It was at this time last year that I shot The Day of the Eagles, and I was hoping to see that again this year. While I did see several eagles over the past few days (they are actually a very common sighting where I live), I didn't see anything like what I witnessed last year. Instead I saw something much rarer.

My husband and I were taking a walk along the shoreline during a beautiful and warm afternoon. We weren't seeing anything really interesting, but we were enjoying the overall beauty of the day. As we were walking back to our car I saw something on the ice off of a point. I wasn't sure what I was seeing since it was pretty far away, but it caught my attention enough to go take a closer look.

We were astounded to see it was a pair of North American River Otters.

River Otters thrive in Northern Minnesota, but they are not usually seen. Apparently they even live in the creek that runs along the back of our property, but we have never seen any there. So this was a special treat.

River OtterRiver Otter

They only came up onto the ice a couple of times. Mostly they were popping up in random holes in the ice to take a breath, then to disappear again.

Ice BreakerIce Breaker

Sometimes the holes were so small that all they could do was take a breath. In the larger holes they would peek out more and seemed to be checking us out.

Peek A BooPeek A Boo

I think we were entertaining them, as they entertained us... Or at the very least they were being sociable. However, they are wild, and never lost sight of their main objective: feeding.

Otter Eating CrayfishOtter Eating Crayfish

If I didn't know better, I would swear he was eating a crab (look at that claw), but that has to be a crayfish.

Two Otters, One HoleTwo Otters, One Hole

This was a very memorable experience and I am so glad my husband was there to share it with me... and I am also happy to share it with you. There are a few more photos in the galleries. I hope you enjoy them!


These photos are delightful!
Elizabeth Martin Photography
I am sorry you were having difficulty loading the photos, Lois. The pictures on this website are very large size files, so they can take a while to load --- especially if your internet connection is on the slow side. I am glad that they did finally load for you... and that you loved them! So hopefully the wait was worth it!
Lois wade(non-registered)
Finally loaded. Love them.
Lois Wade(non-registered)
Pictures are blank.
Tamela T.(non-registered)
Hey! This blog and those photos are great! You have a gift. Thank you for sharing it.
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