EARLY morning in my local wood by the edge of the Ochils and it was still dark, the sun requiring another hour or so until it brimmed the horizon.

Yet, nature was stirring. A fluty pair of notes, followed by another couplet of musical brilliance, so pure and clear it drifted across the dark air like a haunting lament.

It was a song thrush, and further away across the burn another one tuned-up from high in a tree, lilting his spring song as if in a musical competition.

Mesmerised by the piccolo dawn music, I closed my eyes and let its ethereal beauty ripple across my soul.

How could these delicate birds produce a song of such incredible depth and perfect pitch quality?

Whenever I dwell upon nature, there are many questions and so few answers.

I have long since concluded that the 'why' is largely irrelevant, it is only the actuality that matters.

The first glimmer of light now streaked the morning sky and a blackbird began to sing, the song deeper and throatier than that of the thrush.

The blackbird may not have the same variety of notes in his repertoire, but the song nonetheless has a hypnotic and alluring quality.

Later that day, I investigated a newly occupied badger sett in the same wood.

A pair of badgers have requisitioned a former fox den, digging it out and enlarging it to suit their needs.

On viewing video clips from my trail-camera, it appears that the female – or sow – is suckling cubs.

I will be keeping an eye on this sett over the coming weeks to see if any cubs emerge.

While pleased with my badger discovery, I have all but lost track of the foxes that used to traditionally use the same site for their cubs.

I have scoured all likely areas of the wood, sliding on my backside down muddy slopes and crawling under the tangled roots of tumbled trees.

Despite the persistence of my quest, there is no indication of an active den.

I have now decided to forego any further searches for a fox den in this wood because if there are any cubs about, they will be growing rapidly and are best left in peace.

Vixens are notoriously skittish and will abandon a den if there is even an inkling it has been compromised.

All it takes is a whiff of my scent on the ground nearby, or the crackle of twigs from my clumsy footfall.

Vixens are hallmarked by caution, which is why they make such good mothers.