The Heron and the Otter

by Linda Hill

Sunday morning I went for an early morning bike ride and came upon a river otter sunning itself on a mud bank. About 40 feet away, a great blue heron was staring silently out over the bay, surveying its territory in that serious way herons have. As I stopped and watched, the otter dove into the water and began hunting for food. I followed its bubbles when it dove and then watched its wedge-shaped head when it came up for air. Eventually it surfaced with a fish in its mouth and swam back to shore, straight toward the heron. Heron didn't seem a bit disturbed, just stepped back a couple of paces while Otter clambered onto shore. Otter then wandered along the bank for a few metres before settling down to feed on his fish. At that point Mr. Heron spread his wings wide open and did a nonchalant dance routine that took him right beside Otter. They both settled down companionably, Otter enjoying his meal and Heron staring patiently out over the water. After a couple of minutes, Otter laid half of the fish at Heron's feet and dove back into the water again, leaving Heron to enjoy a free meal.

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