We had really bright sunny weather yesterday afternoon, I was sat with my feet deep in the stream, under cover in a simple hide waiting for a Kingfisher to land on the nearby perch. It didn't! However, a Grey Wagtail started to work down the stream in my direction which was great to see and when it perched on the log I snapped away, always nice to photograph this species. They are photogenic and always make a good picture. I moved away to see if the Stonechats were still in the area and yes, they were exactly where I have seen them almost daily in the last 6 weeks. They are not quite so centred in one particular spot anymore, probably because their prey is much more difficult to find now it's colder and they are having to move around to get enough to eat. But the male did come ver, very close to me - I was sat in a bag hide.
I have a Trail Cam set up nearby, I am trying to get footage of the otters that are using the brook here. Recently, I discovered some really fresh spraint which had been left during the previous night so I am certain that they use this area regularly. Spraint is a secretion from glands near the anus of the otter and they use it to mark their territory. It's their signature or calling card and a sign to other otters that they are here. If you know what to look for it's easy to find. They leave it in exposed places on low walls for example next to the water. You can see an otter "sprainting" in the footage above. It is not unpleasant, it has a very distinctive smell which is difficult to describe but once you have smelt it you will never be in doubt again. It has a tarry appearance when fresh but when dry - it still smells nicely though - it looks like a small black blob on the concrete. It quite often has tiny bones and fish scales in it as well. If you find other likely looking sploges which are from other animals and birds you can tell immediately that it has not been left by an otter simply by the smell. Otter spraint always smells distinctively. I am really hopeful of getting some new footage very soon. But only time will tell. When I checked the footage yesterday I had recorded a Fox that came to investigate. This made me more hopeful because it means that the camera and infra-red trigger was working properly - now all I need is an otter. It was good to see the fox though!