Blogs > Boat Blog > An Otter visit at Westerly Marina in Ossining

An Otter visit at Westerly Marina in Ossining


(Photo: Joe DeMarchis)
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In January we had a wonderful surprise visit from a River Otter at Westerly Marina in Ossining. Westerly is Riverkeeper’s home port and the Fletcher is ashore there now for annual upgrades and maintenance.

(Photo: Joe DeMarchis)

(Photo: Joe DeMarchis)

Joe DeMarchis took these images through a shop window early on January 14th. The Otter was working one of the ice-free areas which the yard keeps open with circulators – which work by lifting relatively warmer water up to the surface.


River Otter numbers in the Hudson Valley have been much reduced because of hunting and pollution. We’re told that they still inhabit the lower Estuary but we’ve never actually been lucky enough to see one this far south.

It’s beyond wonderful when the wild comes to visit like this. I suppose an Otter is really no “wilder” than the red-winged blackbirds that will reappear soon enough. But for me, seeing a large predator, unafraid and hunting, master of its environment, is very exciting. I remember one morning in 2013 when an Osprey landed on our boat’s stern frame just before dawn near Irvington. We looked at each other in silence for a minute before it flew off. These are fleeting magical moments when all of man’s world retreats and we see a glimpse of the great wildness which once existed here.

And here’s an account of Otters spotted last summer in Ramshorn Marsh, just south of Catskill, published in the weekly DEC post – Hudson River Almanac:

(Photo: Larry Federman)

(Photo: Larry Federman)

“7/18/14 – Greene County, HRM 112.2: During an early morning guided interpretive kayak paddle on the RamsHorn Creek, in addition to seeing three different beavers, we were treated to an uncommon sighting: three river otters! They seemed as curious about us as we were of them, rising out of the water to get better views, chattering to each other the whole time. They submerged a short time later and then one surfaced with something in its mouth, either an eel or a water snake. It was a magical moment for sure.” [Photo of river otter courtesy of Larry Federman.]
– Larry Federman

If you’d like to subscribe to the DEC’s wonderful Almanac, go to DEC’s Email Lists page, enter your email address, and click on “Submit.” A page listing available subscription topics will appear. Scroll down; under the heading “Natural Areas and Wildlife” is the section “Lakes and Rivers” with a listing for the Hudson River Almanac. Click on the check box to subscribe. It’s great.



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