Eventually a tiny bit of the bush detached itself and was revealed as the smallest bird with the loudest voice – the wren, bustling ahead of us from twig to twig. The dog hates wrens. They scold, scoff, and shout at him, warning everyone he’s about.
We dawdled on. Taymount contains a fair variety of tree species for a plantation. Tall Scots Pines lifted their crowns to the sun. Here and there, where selective felling had left a pine with elbow room, the narrow confines of its growth could be seen morphing into the mighty spread of the Caledonian pines. Larger clearings now host dense, self-seeded birch, through which a flock of greenfinches scurried.
Brown bracken, unusual in this wood, lay beneath, thick enough to bed a herd of beasts. We were on the cusp of spring. Robins proclaimed territories sweetly, compellingly, from field walls. We saw and heard shrill blue-tits, piping long-tails, busy coal-tits, always on the go. Great tits were most strident, high in the trees. “I’m yours! Look at me!” they seemed to cry in their repetitive, compulsive mating calls.
Gazing up focused my attention on the trees, too, as silver firs soared into the blue sky. We fantasised about crested tits, one day, coming here.
We came to some Sitka Spruce which had evaded felling. Sitka is a splendid, statuesque tree when grown as a specimen. If it has no place in the Scottish ecosystem, tell that to the coal- tits. These spruces were laden with dangling ginger cones and coal tits moved systematically from branch to branch, eating the seeds. Then a spotted woodpecker, who’d been ever- present with his drumming, exploded out of hiding and passed right over our heads, a massive spruce cone gripped in his bill.
By the time we got to King’s Myre, we just enjoyed the sunshine by the loch. Another day for that tale!