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.
It was like treading upon a sweeping carpet of copper, such was the burnished tint of the beech leaves covering this track by the River North Esk near Edzell.
It’s those eyes, the large intelligent eyes that are so striking, a piercing concentration that made me wonder whether this octopus was pondering a dilemma; should I stay still and rely on my camouflage for concealment, or perhaps better to make a dash for deeper water?
Up and down go the crazy ravens in looping undulations, some of the birds suddenly splitting off into pairs to engage in their own sweeping aerobatics before joining the main group again.