Country Corner

Young Goosanders on the River Esk at Musselburgh
Young Goosanders on the River Esk at Musselburgh

It is great to see young Goosanders on the Esk at Musselburgh again this year.

As readers may recall, this fish catching duck is recovering from years of persecution and pollution.

Only in recent years has this duck begun breeding again locally.

Good news stories can be over shadowed by general doom and gloom in wildlife journalism.

However, there are many species managing to increase their range and populations despite the way we treat the country.

Buzzards are, of course, the obvious example, but there are many more.

Only this week I have heard of a potential record of the Tree Bumblebee in the Lothians.

Considering this species has only been in the UK for 13 years or so, its spread since its arrival has been astonishing.

Badgers and otters are also very much on the up.

It is now a simple task to find tracks and signs of both, though seeing the actual animals takes a lot more effort.

Reasons for such increases are manyfold, though an important driver has been changes in public attitudes.

Goosanders, for instance, were routinely killed to protect angling interests.

Now most anglers like to see Goosanders and otters.

They say there is more to fishing than catching fish.

Watching riverside wildlife is now seen as high among the attractions of fishing.

I must say, on a recent trout fishing sortie in the Border hills, the sight and sound of ravens were all part and parcel of the wild landscape.

So, enjoy the antics of the young Goosanders.

It is a joy your parents were denied.