A light pale fluttering of under-wings in the oak canopy above me – a small butterfly, but of a type unknown to me, flying purposefully through the branches, turning for a moment to reveal darker top-wings before disappearing into the foliage.
Kennoway Den, Fife
I came with high hopes but was ultimately shocked when I reached the wide curve of the river and saw for the first time the long sandy cut by the far edge of the water.
Following on from a recent snorkelling trip to Lochinver in the north-west Highlands, my appetite had been whetted to such an extent that I couldn’t resist getting the mask and flippers out once more – but this time to explore the underwater world of Courier Country.
It is a conundrum I had never previously pondered, but as I watched this puffin standing on a rocky bluff on the Isle of May with its beak packed full of sprats, the inevitable question arose – how is it able to catch several fish at a time, one-after-another, without dropping some it has already caught?
A flash of crimson over the peaty-brown water, and then another one; two damselflies dancing above a little pool on this vast expanse of Perthshire moorland near Pitlochry.
I was gliding over Scotland’s forgotten forest; a tangled mass of gently waving kelp and a place as rich and diverse in wildlife as any environment imaginable.
It was a mesmerising sight – a vast panorama of mountain ridges and high tops as far as the eye could see.
A flash of silver in the swirling pool. A cry goes out: “There’s one, there’s one!” Up scoops the net and within its mesh lies a glistening salmon parr.
Warm breeze against evening sky, gently caressing the rolling Perthshire hills. But the soft rush of wind is soon broken by an almost hypnotic call – ‘coo-koo, coo-koo, coo-koo’ – a sound that seems to penetrate every fold and gully of the hillside.