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.
My wife rolled her eyes when I told her I was heading out to look for sticky catchfly, but then again, what did she expect being married to the nature equivalent of a train spotter?
Oh, what wonderful names – early thorn, nut-tree tussock, flame carpet and scalloped hazel, it is almost as if a poet had conjured their creation.
Is there such a thing as a cute insect? Well, yes, there most definitely is because I saw one last week – a bee-fly; a little rotund ‘furry’ beast with an impossibly long proboscis.
Cast upon the air like a fluttering piece of orange and white confetti, the little butterfly danced and birled above the grass and wildflowers of this Fife cliff top.
Expectation turned increasingly into forlorn hope and ultimately disappointment as the soft light of dusk was eventually extinguished by the dark cloak of night.
It’s the light. Yes, it’s most definitely the light that helps make spring so special – and I don’t mean the longer hours of daylight, but rather the shimmering quality of the lustre in the air.
It was the white that caught my eye; a flash of undulating paleness as the small group of roe deer bounded up the slope and into the thick cover of the young conifer plantation.
Two’s company and three’s a crowd – which was certainly the case here on the high cliffs at Fowlsheugh south of Stonehaven where the fulmars bickered as they sought to reclaim their nesting ledges.
By the edge of this sandy bay at Earlsferry, the sanderlings dodged in amongst the surf on pattering feet, following the flow of the sea as it receded and quickly retreating up the beach again as the rolling water surged back.