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.

By those white cliffs ……

June 4th, 2011

THE BEST time to watch seabirds is now, the breeding season, when they come onto land to nest   All their energies are concentrated on incubating their eggs, feeding their chicks and other family matters, and they are not going anywhere else   A good place to watch them is the RSPB seabird reserve at Fowlsheugh near Crawton, between Catterline and Stonehaven, which they return to each year in their tens of thousands.

It seems odd that I've never visited it before when it has been on my doorstep all my life, but I put that to rights on Tuesday   If you're unsure where to go when you've parked the car, follow the squalling sound of kittiwakes and the hoarse, coughing cries of fulmars, or better still follow your nose for you can't miss the pungent smell of guano   The cliffs are white with the droppings of generations of birds that have nested there.

There's a well defined track along the clifftop which makes for easy walking   A pair of binoculars is fairly essential but there are several places where you can observe the nesting birds at closer quarters   Don't get overenthusiastic and stray too near the cliff edge.

Along with the kittiwakes and fulmars, guillemots and razorbills make up the majority of the colony, along with some herring gulls   You may see puffins and gannets but Fowlsheugh is not a major breeding site for them.

Although I didn't see any chicks they must have started to hatch because I found two halves of a razorbill egg in the grass   I expect there will be lots more activity in the next few days.

And there's not just birds   Bright pink outcrops of thrift – sea-pinks my mother called them – shiver in the breeze on stiff, skinny stems   Readers of a certain age will remember that a design of thrift appeared on the reverse side of the old  thrifty' threepenny bit coin   Clumps of pink campion are in full bloom, providing cheery splashes of colour   Yarrow, once an ingredient in the brewing of beer, has started to flower.

I've no idea what the proper geological name is, but the cliffs are what was once described to me as plum pudding rock, which have been sculpted by the weather over millennia into the ledges and crevices which are crowded out now with nests   Heugh means a crag or cliff, so the derivation of Fowlsheugh is self-explanatory.

This is a good time of year to visit the reserve when the birds can be seen in such numbers   Once the breeding is over the majority will disperse till next season – the kittiwakes and fulmars spending almost the whole time at sea   The clifftop walk is just over a kilometre there and back again, so it's not a big undertaking.

And until the nesting has finished – best no dogs!

Written on Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at 3:17 pm for Weekly.