The Nature of Spring by Jim Crumley (Saraband, £12.99)

AS one of Scotland's most prolific nature writers, Jim Crumley is a man who knows the wildlife and wonders of our landscapes intimately.

The Nature of Spring is the third book in his Seasons series – a final instalment in the quartet, The Nature of Summer, is due out very soon – as the author lays bare themes of rebirth and rejuvenation in a spellbinding manner.

Its opening section, Harbingers, begins with a kestrel hovering over a Stirlingshire hillside in search of prey. "She perches on air now," writes Crumley. "Every feather and nerve-end is a-flicker, apart from her head, which is the still centre of her world."

Then, from the highest trees of a crag, comes what he describes as the unambiguous voice of spring, the well-toned, jazzily inventive and far-carrying sound of a mistle thrush singing for a mate.

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Another mesmerising sequence chronicles a sea eagle that swoops, not above the Hebridean islands, but incongruously over the Lowland hills ("the sight of such a bird transported into this comparatively domestic place can be stupefying. It just looks plain wrong, like a whale in a pond").

In a remarkable spectacle, a peregrine begins to mimic the eagle's flight pattern, copying the loose-limbed nature of the larger bird's downstrokes.

However, the transformations brought by spring are not without tumult. Crumley makes no bones about the impact of global warming as he details the effects of climate chaos on the lives of badgers, foxes, pine marten, raptors, seals and seabirds.

He charts the changing of the seasons in the Highlands and across an eclectic clutch of islands, from Colonsay to Yell in Shetland, Mull, Iona, Lismore, Lindisfarne and the Isle of May.

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Then there is what he dubs The Sanctuary. At its heart is Crumley's blueprint for a daring and provocative conservation vision, one that argues the need for "a second spring for the wolf" – to reintroduce these majestic creatures to the rugged lands they once roamed.


Landward, BBC Scotland, Thursday, 8pm

The labour crisis in the berry industry comes under the spotlight amid fears vital food supplies may be lost. Meanwhile, presenter Euan McIlwraith makes a surprising discovery about the badger sett in his garden and asks viewers for help in identifying a mystery attacker.

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