This is a first for me. I have never seen a wild River Otter in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex before. I was only able to get a fleeting glimpse of this individual, as he vanished as soon as spotted me. Here’s how it happened…

I had taken up a concealed position on the shore of Lemmon Lake in the Joppa Preserve area of the Great Trinity Forest. I was there to observe and photograph wading birds, and my attention was focused on a group of them several hundred yards/meters from my position.

Then, I noticed an unusual crunching sound coming from the water just in front of me. It was the River Otter swimming by just 15ft/5m from shore. Only his head showed above the surface of the water, and he was busy munching on something with a hard shell—possible a mussel or a crayfish.

I quickly brought my camera to bear, but the sound of the shutter alerted the otter and he vanished. I only managed these three shots. The photographs are not particularly good, but the observation was thrilling!