Soft sunlight filtering through towering beech trees, the tumbling gurgle of rushing water, and wildflowers peppering the river bankside in a drift of yellow and white polka dots; it is spring and I’m down by the River Earn near Crieff.
Are we on the cusp of a calamity in our fields where the once ubiquitous animal – the hare – disappears forever?
It was the second time in as many weeks that I had spotted a brown hare in this Kinross-shire field, and this one was moving with real purpose. The reason soon became apparent because suddenly another hare, hidden in the grass, reared-up before it and there was a temporary stand-off.
I must be getting soft, for tears began to well in my eyes as I watched this spider monkey work her way across the rainforest canopy with a tiny baby clinging tenaciously to her belly.
The ocean quahog is also sometimes known as the Icelandic cyprine. They live buried in sand, with just a small siphon tube extending up to the surface of the seabed.
Frogs have declined in recent decades because of habitat loss. Their spawn can contain up to 2000 eggs. By midsummer, the tadpoles will have turned into froglets.
Red-breasted mergansers belong to a group of ducks known as the ‘sawbills’, so called because of the serrated edges to their bills, designed for gripping slippery fish.
Sitting still with hardly a flicker of a muscle, until you blend seamlessly into the landscape and become part of nature is such a productive way for seeking out wildlife; and so it proved in this little strip of woodland by the edge of the Ochils.
Kestrels can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including moorland, farmland, coastal cliffs and in our towns and cities. The field vole is its preferred prey.
Formerly absent due to persecution, pine martens now occur throughout much of Courier Country, with a recent survey detecting their presence in Perthshire, Stirlingshire, Angus and Fife.
Spade against soil, a strangely reassuring sound as I methodically dig the vegetable patch in preparation for the coming spring. The air is damp and heavy, the ground soft and yielding.