IT WAS a soft piping from the gorse, a gentle call almost consumed by the rustle of the breeze, which flickered across my senses by this track side near Blairlogie.

It was a pair of bullfinches slowly working their way through the green spikey tangle of bushes on the steep slopes below Dumyat.

Bullfinches are such special birds, the male so colourful with his rose-pink blush of a breast and white rump that provides a distinctive flash when in flight.

They are also our very own version of the love bird, for they hang around in pairs all year round and if you see one, then the chances are its partner won’t be far away.

I’m not sure why bullfinches should exhibit such lifetime fidelity when most other song birds don’t.

Although on thinking about it, such a strategy does save vital energy in spring by not having to look and go courting for a new mate.

An established pair will also know their breeding area intimately and the best places to find food.

The track here at Blairlogie, which is part of the Hillfoots Diamond Jubilee Way, is always a good place for spotting wildlife, and as well as the bullfinches, a party of long-tailed tits chirruped and chattered as they bounded along a line of trees. Up on the crags of Castle Law, a flock of jackdaws wheeled in the swirling air currents.

It is hard to imagine when looking up at Castle Law that an imposing fort – the home of a prominent Pictish tribe – once overlooked the carselands below.

It would have been a formidable sight that must have struck fear and foreboding for incomers to the area.

But my eyes were soon drawn back to the ground by a stunning clump of orangey-brown sulphur tuft toadstools.

Although the vast majority of our wild flowers have now wilted, their colour is replaced by our autumn fungi, which shine out from even the darkest recesses like little beacons.