Last night, we had a cold front push through. Like most this time of the year, there was little lightening, and a few brief, heavy showers. As it passed through, I fell asleep.
At about 2:00 am, a loud thud against the side of the house woke me up. I sat for a few moments, listened for the anticipated low rumble of the remainder of the thunder, and soon realized the thud was from something else.
I got out of bed, dressed, grabbed the spotlight, and went out to see what there was to see. It was quiet as I stepped onto the porch. There was a light breezed from the North, and the sky was brilliant with stars.
I scanned the pond behind the house, and it was empty. The ducks and geese weren't to be found, which is unusual. I walked around the side of the house and found a mallard looking somewhat dazed, and not moving away very fast. That made me wonder if it had flown into the house, which led to me trying to analyze what would cause it to do so.
I scanned the pond again. It was still empty. So were the usual spots where the ducks and geese roosted. This was odd, so I turned to scan the front yard. The geese were standing in the middle of the yard, on alert and nervous.
This was all strange, and my immediate thought was there was a predator about. I scanned the pond again. There were two close-set golden eyes behind a shape near the water. As I watched, something slipped into the water, and started swimming. The golden eyes were still visible as it made its way to the near bank. I couldn't see if for a few moments, so I waited for it to appear again.
I was soon rewarded for my patience. An adult otter slipped up the bank, turned toward me for a few seconds, and waddled off of until it was out of sight.
I've seen otters in isolated areas away from most humans, so this was a first. There are houses all around the area, plenty of dogs, fences to circumnavigate, and the nearest stream is about a half mile away. They usually don't predate ducks, so I'm assuming the rain led to the crawfish to clear their holes and they were easy prey for the otter.
I'll be watching for a reappearance, which may never happen. Still, it's an interesting thing, and a little surprising.