Otter joins Wroxham regatta picnicking in a kayak

This otter was literally ‘up a creek without a paddle’ when it was spotted on a kayak at Wroxham Week regatta.  One of the sailors competing in the regatta, Hilary Franzen, who took the picture of the otter on Wroxham Broad said: “I was standing by the sailing club house when the cheeky otter climbed onto the kayak and began using it as a dinner table to eat a large fish”.

“The otter seemed unconcerned by all the commotion of the regatta, although it was precluded from taking part in any of the rowing or canoeing races due to the lack of a paddle!” she added.

One of our skippers Oliver Franzen said: “All our boat trips visit Wroxham Broad and during the rest of the regatta we had the fun of not only watching the racing but trying to spot the kayaking otter.  Although the otter never showed up again we have seen many more of these magical animals both in the village, particularly near our boatyard and Wroxham Bridge, as well as in the wilder rivers and broads.”

Oliver also managed to take this picture of a mystical 4am sunrise over Wroxham Broad while staying on a boat during the regatta.

We had an unusual visitor in Wroxham village last week – a Mandarin duck.  The colourful bird (which briefly showed up for a few days last October and was also seen last summer) was introduced as an ornamental duck from China but has now become established having escaped captivity.

The RSPB estimates that there are now 2,300 breeding pairs of Mandarin ducks in southern and eastern England, with a total of 7,000 birds wintering here.  Despite the growing numbers they are still a welcome surprise with the males displaying distinctive long orange feathers on the side of the face, orange ‘sails’ on the back, and pale orange flanks. The females, by comparison, are much more drab.

One of the newest additions to the river are a family of small fluffy moor hens which were hatched in Wroxham village last week.  Meanwhile most of the ducklings are growing up to be nearly the size of their parents, as shown in the picture taken on Salhouse Broad by skipper Tobi.

The great crested greblets we have been watching since they hatched on Salhouse Broad in the spring have been growing up well.  The greblets (which are now nearly the size of their parents but still have a cute stripy face and ‘punk hairdo’ rather than a full crest) are being taken into the open water and taught to fish for themselves by their parents.  Despite the fishing lessons most of the greblets haven’t stopped chirping madly to beg for food from their parents – which must seem easier than catching their own fish!

Just one or two or the most mature greblets are now heading out on to the river to fish on their own while other birds are disappearing to Hoveton Great Broad.

Two more birds species that have been delighting passengers with impressive regularity are electric blue kingfisher darting low over the water and majestic marsh harrier swooping overhead.

Not to be overlooked is the wonderful colours emerging in riverside vegetation.  The hot weather appears to have encouraged the reeds to flower early and take on a wonderful purple hew as shown by this picture taken by skipper Tobi.

Tobi also capture this picture of a bee (which are in sadly short numbers these days) on the striking colours of hemp agrimony.  The wildlflower, which is sometimes known as ‘raspberries and cream,’ is really lighting up the river bank with displays of frothy clusters of tiny pink flowers on top of long reddish stems.

Finally, we will leave you with the ultimate natural kaleidoscope of colours – sunset over Salhouse Broad – taken by Tobi during an evening charter on the Cordon Rouge trip boat.