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.

Wildlife heritage cascading down the generations

March 26th, 2011

WEDNESDAY MORNING was just a blithesome time to be out and about with dogs   Trails of thin cirrus cloud were all that disturbed an otherwise clear blue sky and the sun was warm on my face.

My euphoria was shared by lots of spring-infected birds   A burst of song from high amongst the lichen-covered branches of an elderly hawthorn was a robin letting rip   They are early nesters and I like to think it was a cock bird asserting authority over his territory while the hen got on with the domestic and family arrangements.

More than most other garden birds they take us humans very much as they find us   There is a well-known photograph of the noted ornithologist Lord Grey of Fallodon with a robin, which greeted him whenever he went into his garden, perching on his hat.

Another example of how readily wild animals adapt to human presence is recounted by son Robert   Driving through Dunkeld at about 6.45am he was taken aback to see, in the half light of the early morning, a deer calmly walking across the bridge over the River Tay.

It was a mature fallow deer buck, with elegant fully grown palmate antlers, seemingly perfectly at ease in its unfamiliar surroundings, heading up the main street as if it were the most natural thing.

Out last thing at night with the dogs there was a most awful commotion of alarm calls from black headed gulls which clearly had been disturbed on their roost   Like oyster catchers they are essentially coastal birds that have been attracted inland to feed and to breed   Their harsh, screaming calls were unmistakeable and perhaps a hunting fox had just stalked and killed one for his supper.

The Scottish parliament recently passed the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act to further protect Scottish wildlife and regulate and manage Scotland's biodiversity     As ever with legislation, there are those who think that it goes too far and others who condemn it for failing to go far enough   There's been a good airing of competing opinions already and I've no intention of adding to them.

It is the case, however, that man has fashioned the environment for his own needs for 6000, and more, years   The world is vulnerable to everything that we humans do, as species loss, habitat destruction, pollution and climate change already testify to   But we are the only species that has the ability and knowledge to secure our world as it is now for the benefit of future generations.

We have to care passionately about the way we treat our environment today so as to be able to hand on a legacy worth having to those who follow tomorrow, otherwise they'll only have articles like this to learn what a wonderful world we enjoy, and to read about what they no longer have.

Written on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 3:25 pm for Weekly.