IT IS DUSK and I’m sitting in my Clackmannanshire garden, soaking up the serenity of the evening’s calm, with some creatures preparing to bed down for the night and others on the verge of stirring.

A pair of bats tumble in the air above me, displaying incredible agility as they swoop and swerve, in their constant quest for moths and other night-time creatures.

They are pipistrelles – soprano pipistrelles to be precise – one of our smallest mammals. I know they are sopranos because I’ve listened to their echo-location calls previously on my bat detector, and their frequency differs slightly from the common pipistrelle.

Not that it matters, I suppose, but that is the geek in me, always being obsessed about knowing what creatures are.

I sit a bit more. A rustling from behind me. The noise stops, then resumes again. I’m sure it is a hedgehog, so I rise to my feet and creep ever so slowly towards the source of the movement beneath a berberis bush.

My hunch proves right; a hedgehog and quite a large one too, snuffling in amongst the leaf litter in search of slugs and other invertebrates

It moves surprisingly fast and in no time at all it disappears into the thickness of tangled woody stems.

I was thrilled with the sighting because hedgehogs are rather scarce creatures nowadays, having so many different threats to contend with.

It’s hard to know where to start, but road traffic takes its toll on many animals, and habitat loss is a major issue.

The suburban gardens of Clackmannanshire should be a safe haven for these wonderful animals, but one problem is the lack of interconnectivity between gardens because of fences and walls that hedgehogs are unable to negotiate.

Hedgehogs like to wander far in a typical night, and we can all do our little bit to help by ensuring there are suitable gaps under our fences and gates to ensure these special animals can move with relative ease between gardens.