On every streamside I look for otter spraint; there have been otter sightings to the east in Grimsbury near Banbury and to the west 5 miles away on the Glyme just south of Chipping Norton, I found several sprainting sites last year. Nothing though near the village, until today.
I rather suspected there might not be enough food near hook Norton for otters because the streams are quite modest, but there are several privately-owned fishing ponds around some of the rather more expensive properties. Otters have spread rapidly in Oxfordshire since they were first seen in the county around 20 years ago. In fact we were among the first to find spraints at that time - on the River Evenlode near to Daylesford - meeting suspicion and incredulity about the find. Now otters seem to be near the village; I found one spraint on a rock mid stream not far from a fish pond. There were also some partial prints in the stream bank, together with badger prints. Almost certainly this was a casual visit (males will range as much as 20 km in a night, females a little less), probably helped by there being more water in the streams following heavy rain last week.
I brought the spraint back to look at the food remains and my study now reeks of the it, that unmistakable sweet fishy smell. So if anyone has never smelt the stuff....! Had it been mink I would probably have had to move out, as they stink; they look similar to otter spraints but they are just bad.