The water by this rocky shore at Kingsbarns near St Andrews had churned into a white froth, such was the ferocity of the wind and the turmoil of the waves.
KEITH BROOMFIELD: Kingfishers are doing well on the River Devon despite being vulnerable to the cold
I am writing a book on a wildlife year on the River Devon in Clackmannanshire – but I had a problem, for a large stretch of the lower river is relatively inaccessible by foot.
It was a case of summer meets winter; skeins of honking pink-footed geese high in the sky above Loch Leven, but wildflowers still in bloom down by the track edge, with bees, hoverflies and other insects eagerly gorging themselves upon the late-season nectar.
There are between 1,200 and 1,300 species of moth in Scotland, compared with only 33 types of butterfly, that are conveniently split into two groups – the macro moths and the micro moths.
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’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?
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.
There was not a breath of wind, not a penny whisper out on the mirror calm wispy-misted lochan where the four whooper swans drifted. It was a scene that could have been brushed from an artist’s palette; a picture perfection of a Scottish winter lochscape in all its beguiling serenity.
Sitting on a log by the edge of the field in Strathardle near Kirkmichael, I watched a small group of swallows zip this way and that over the insect rich pasture.