Your best bet to spot one of these playful creatures
hen it comes to big game spotting in the Broads National Park, there is no prey more sleek, more rare and more exciting than the otter.
Sure, the booming call of a bittern has its own sonorous appeal, and the swish of kingfisher in full flight is a magical experience. But the otter? Well, the otter is king.
The only way to otter spot, to paraphrase Elmer Fudd, is to be very, very quiet. And there is no quieter vessel on the broads than a canoe. Not only are they very, very quiet, they also allow access to shallow water, nature reserves and narrow tucked away channels that regular boats can’t or won’t reach.
Anything else? You’ll also need a bit of local knowledge. That’s where the skills, experience and fiendish otter-smelling nostrils of The Canoe Man (aka Mark Wilkinson) come into play. His guided otter-spotting day trips give you the best chance to see a glimpse of the flat-shaped head and sleek tail of this all-too-rare river dweller.
Of course, otter spottings are not guaranteed. In which case, you’ll have to be satisfied with the aforementioned kingfisher and bitterns, the big skies above, the silver birched banks, marsh harriers and great crested grebes.
Tough gig. But that’s the lot of a big game hunter.