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Drama on the Little Spokane

By Lindell Haggin

On a cold and icy day in February, I happened to look out the window toward the river. The water seemed to be roiling more than usual when an otter popped up and onto a shelf of ice. In its mouth it was carrying a large fish, more than a foot long. After taking a few bites it hopped back in the river. I thought I had seen the last of it, when it hopped back on the ice shelf. It repeated this process two or three times.

I thought maybe it was like a raccoon and was washing its meal between bites.

The next thing I know a bald eagle flew into the picture. It perched on a nearby

cottonwood. The otter positioned itself between his big meal and the eagle. The

eagle made a dive down toward the otter and the fish, but the otter was too fast for it.

The otter took its treasured meal into the dark waters.The eagle was very disappointed, but finally spied a little morsel left on the ice and went to retrieve it.

About an hour later there were three otters on the ice shelf. No fish, no eagle, just a little time to catch up on grooming.

All but the last photo were taken from our upstairs window looking down toward the river. For the photo of the three otters, I went down to the river bank to get a closer view.How fortunate we are to live in a river valley with such richness and diversity. We all need to do our part to enjoy it and help take care of it.

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