A long weekend in the western Highlands of Scotland gave me the opportunity to catch up with several species I rarely get the chance to see. This was enhanced by our host’s desire to show us as much of this beautiful landscape as possible, which entailed going on very long walks, often involving dauntingly steep climbs. As I pointed out – in vain – I come from the lowlands of England, and “don’t do up”.

En route, in the wilds of Perthshire, we took an eight-mile hike around a valley. Even though autumn can sometimes be rather quiet, the place was thronged with birds. Meadow pipits sprang up constantly; bouncing through the air as if hanging on invisible strings of elastic, while uttering their distinctive “sip” call. They were joined by tight little flocks of siskins and redpolls, which I rarely see at home on the Somerset Levels.

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Source: Guardian Environment