An otter has made a surprise return to the river in Darlington after surprising walkers and photographers over the last couple of weeks. 

While plenty of wildlife like fish, birds, deer, and other animals are commonplace in Darlington and the surrounding areas, it seems that otters are far less common, as one photographer found out. 

The Northern Echo: The otter in DarlingtonThe otter in Darlington (Image: PETER OUGHTON)

During a walk alongside the River Tees in Darlington The Northern Echo Camera Club member Peter Oughton managed to get the rare sighting, after admitting that he'd spent years trying to take photos of otters in Darlington. 

Alongside some stunning images submitted by Mr Oughton, he put the caption: " I finally got my first sightings of the Darlington otter today.

"I've only been looking for a few years after everyone telling me about them.

The Northern Echo: The otter in the waterThe otter in the water (Image: PETER OUGHTON)

"Cripplingly good views in less than favourable conditions!"

And it seems that the camera club member is the envy of many people, with others wishing that they could get a sighting of the otter. 

After looking through The Northern Echo archives, it seems as though the rarity of seeing the animals is more complex than first thought. 

While the last sighting before this cannot be confirmed in its entirety, it was 2007 when otters were spotted by quite a few people, instead of it being a rare sighting for one or two. 

Back in 2007, The Northern Echo reported that dog walkers have regularly seen several otters on the River Tees, near Darlington.

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At least two adults and two cubs were spotted.

During the occurrence in 2007, Ralph Givens, the then professional at Stressholme Golf Club, which then became Blackwell Grange Golf Club, Darlington, highlighted that he often saw the otters when he went for his morning walk.

He said in 2007: When I first saw them, I was a bit shocked. Even now, it's still lovely to see them and it's great that they are back in the area. Quite a lot of people seem to know about them now."