Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

… better the world with a song

June 6th, 2010

THE DAWN chorus woke me shortly after 5am   My first reaction was –  €œWhat a racket €, but when the sun has already risen it's silly to stay in bed, so I rose too and got dressed and went out to taste the morning.

It's a great time of day to be out and doing   The wildlife doesn't generally expect much human disturbance so early and if you move quietly you'll likely see a lot more activity than when people and cars are on the go.

The early warmth of the sun was chasing away the coolness of the night and I stood in the garden just looking and listening   Moving quietly in these circumstances means leaving Inka indoors   First time out of the door in the morning he needs to race around the garden at full pelt, disturbing everything in his path, to get rid of all the pent up energy that has been building up overnight   Macbeth needs his full eight hours beauty sleep and, as far as he's concerned, if you've got a dog why pelt round the garden yourself!

It's busy times, of course     The swallows have arrived late this year and have hardly started building their nests   However lots of birds have hatched their eggs and some, like the mistle thrushes and jackdaws, have already fledged their young.

There are several starling families nesting in the cupples of the roof of the house, and they are noisy devils   We hear the young squawking away in the rafters demanding more food, and the adults answer with raucous, unattractive calls quite unlike their normal social song.

An oyster catcher sitting on two eggs by the side of the drive down to the house has chosen a very exposed place to nest, just feet from the driveway itself   She's quite unfazed by passing cars, but Inka bounding about disturbed her off her nest – although she's always returned to it – so we're starting our walks in another direction until she's hatched her chicks.

I've always associated Glen Esk at this time of year with cuckoos, but the last couple of seasons I've missed hearing their calls   The Doyenne and I spent the Monday Bank holiday up at Loch Lee, at the head of the glen, where we had a day of utter peace locked away amongst the Angus hills   Somewhere above the keeper's cottage at Inchgrundle a cuckoo started calling.

It was persistent, doubtless hoping to attract a response from a potential mate   It stopped only for a brief lunch before racketing on well into the afternoon, and it got to the point when that repeated two note call became a bit tedious   I've heard two more calling at the foot of the glen which means, I hope, that whatever the reason for their absence they are making a welcome return.

So I shouldn't complain.

Written on Sunday, June 6th, 2010 at 10:04 am for Weekly.