O is for Otters and Owls

Hug an owl at Kingfisher Barn

Otters return to the River Stour

A very welcome return of otters to the River Stour is due to improved water quality and an increase in fish numbers. 

These shy, playful mammals rear their young in shelters, called holts, along the river bank. They are usually seen at dusk or early morning while hunting. They mainly feed on fish and crustaceans, but will also take water birds and frogs.

  • Otters are powerful swimmers
  • Webbed feet propel them through the water.
  • Their long tail acts as a rudder.
  • They can even close their ears when swimming under the water.

As you explore the river bank look out for otter footprints and droppings, known as 'spraint'. These are usually sticky, black and full of fish bones and scales and  may smell fishy, musty or sometimes quite sweet - similar to jasmine tea!

  • Have you seen an Otter here?
  • Could you capture some video for us to use on this website?  

We would love to have your sightings so please pop into Kingfisher Barn where you will also find a cast of otter footprints as well as fox, badger and mink for comparison.



T'wit T'woo

Barn owls, tawny owls and little owls have all been seen flying over the riverside meadows in search of voles and mice to eat.

Have you found all the sculptures of our five native British owls?  (The 'Owl Trail' is located outside the Kingfisher Barn)

Can you tell which one is which? (Clues in the video above)

  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Barn Owl
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Long-eared Owl

Sometimes it's possible to find pellets of undigested fur and bones which the owls regurgitate through their mouths. If you find an owl pellet, dry it out and carefully open it up to discover what the owl had for dinner.

To get you started we have some owl pellets at Kingfisher Barn (freshly prepared!) so pop in to see what is on the Owl's menu and complete the Owl Trail (ideal for kids).