Counry Corner - Listen out! Nature is all around you

Pleasing to the ear - the sound of eiders on the sea.
Pleasing to the ear - the sound of eiders on the sea.

One of my favourite sounds of spring is the cooing of eiders out on the sea, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

I suppose it's just so strange, even after all these years, to hear ducks making noises other than quacks.

Mind you another coastal duck, the Wigeon, whistles to produce yet another evocative sound of wild shores.

On the subject of unexpected sounds, many folk have been surprised to be barked at by Roe Deer, sounding exactly like a rather hoarse dog.

Even more unusual is the Sika Deer, whose wolf whistle is a feature of many Scottish woods these days.

Most familiar is perhaps the scream of the fox at courting time, a short sharp spine tingling sound beloved of TV drama makers whenever they want to make outdoor shots as creepy as possible.

If that doesn't do it the terrifying screeches of the Barn Owl will do the trick!

Usually I can identify the sounds of the Scottish counrtyside, but it can be a different story when I am off on my wildlife travels in Africa or South and Central America.

In these places the sounds are easily as important to me as the sights.

In the Americas, Howler Monkeys are a great favourite.

In Africa, it is the combined high pitched songs of enamoured frogs and cicadas.

Jungle dawn choruses are a cascade of weird and wonderful songs, alarms, gongs, drums, screams and whistles to name but a few.

By now I can put a name to some of the participants but usually I find myself setting off to try to solve the origins of the strangest.

Even my own garden at home reverberates to the rasping of rutting frogs for a couple of weeks every spring, especially at night when they get up to all sorts under the cover of darkness.

So lend an ear to Nature, whose sounds are often as intriguing as her sights.