An Otter in the Park

A report from Marc and Elizabeth from Bush Wood regarding an exciting mammal they saw in Wanstead Park:


Marc says "My wife and I saw an otter in Wanstead Park on 1st November 2009. I've just found your website - I

didn't know where to report the sighting until now. It was in the Ornamental Water, towards the River Roding end.

We saw it just before dusk, and it was wrestling with an eel which was approximately a foot long. We watched it for

a couple of minutes, and it seemed completely oblivious to us. Eventually it got the eel under control, swam to the far

bank with its meal in its mouth, and ran up the bank into the undergrowth. Unfortunately it was one of the rare

occasions we were walking in the Park without a camera!

The animal we saw was definitely brown  - I believe that mink are black - and had a body thicker than a domestic

cat. I've looked at pictures of both, and I'm 99% sure it was an otter.

My wife and I saw it, and we pointed it out to some other passers-by, who also watched.

Have there been any other sightings?"

Elizabeth continued "I thought I'd also mention that the sighting was during the day around 2pm-ish and that

because we watched it for around 4 minutes whilst it wrestled with the eel we are really quite certain it was an otter.

Its tail became visible and the shape of it was thicker at the base, long and gradually tapering to the end. Also it's

face was very different than the photos I've seen on line of mink. It had a stubby nose, not pointed.

As Marc said if only we'd taken a phone or camera with us...

It was amazing to watch!"



Other reports of Otters in Wanstead Park

In the Ottertrust Journal of 2001 a "Review of Otter Reintroductions 1983-1999" quotes Graham White of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust: ...."otter spraint was even found in Wanstead Park" .

London Wildlife Trust's website mention that "GIGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London) records show only two other recent otter sightings in London: one at Redbridge in August 2002..."

A report on the East London Birders Forum website for December 2006: "2 Otters on the River Roding (John Sellar)"

There have been one or two recent but unconfirmed of otters in the Wanstead Park/River Roding area.

© Paul Ferris 2010