A rippling scuttle ahead of me on an Ochils track – a lizard, and the first time I have ever seen one up in these hills.

The sun was shining bright and the lizard had been basking by the track edge, soaking up the rays to give warmth to its body. This was a male and he looked resplendent in his emerald green breeding colours, almost like a cock pheasant, proud and puffed-up.

He rested by the track edge, enabling me to take some photos, but when I encroached too close, he was gone in a flash, seeking shelter in the long grass. Lizards are scarce in the Ochils, which is a bit of a mystery, because the warm and sunny south facing scarp of the hills look ideal for their requirements. But they are elusive creatures and perhaps they are more frequent than I realise.

The recent warm weather has also brought butterflies out in their droves and down by the haugh of the River Devon, orange-tips are especially abundant at the moment, floating above the flood meadows on fragile wings. Peacock and small tortoiseshells are about in good numbers, too, and I was thrilled also to discover several comma butterflies on my wanderings.

The comma is a climate change arrival, moving in from the south in recent years and now well established in Clackmannanshire. Look out for the distinctive jagged outline of their wings and their strong and purposeful flight. When at rest, they typically close their wings and are very hard to spot, blending in seamlessly with the surrounding environment and disappearing in the blink of an eye.