Heading off-piste for a splash of yellow

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The weather was still a bit brisk at the weekend, but the harbingers of spring are gathering momentum.

Many martins are already here and there were numerous reports of odd swallows from around the Borders over the weekend.

On Saturday, I had a lovely walk round Selkirk Hill, hoping to hear my first willow warbler of the season.

I was almost certain I heard one above the strong wind, having a brief tryout of its song, which would be a bit rusty, having not been used since last year, but I couldn’t be 100 per cent sure. They have been reported from other Borders locations, but at the time of writing the main influx has still to happen.

Another early warbler, the chiffchaff, seems to be present almost everywhere. Surely their numbers have rocketed in recent years.

It was still cool and windy on Sunday, but I decided to take our pup Treacle to visit Tibbie Tamson’s grave for the first time.

This was a regular walk for me previously, by way of the Corbie Linn glen, and is one of the most pleasant walks in the Selkirk area.

Halfway up the glen I paused to photograph the waterfall tumbling into the gorge, which is now much more visible since recent tree felling operations.

Midway down the steep side of the glen, my eye was attracted to a clump of yellow flowers.

They were not lemon enough to be primroses, so I got out the binoculars for a better view.

I was right – they were cowslips. I had never seen them before in this area and suspected they may have been introduced; nevertheless I had to have a closer look.

At my age, I should probably know better, but I managed to scramble down (with Treacle in close pursuit).

I was glad I made the effort because it was a particularly handsome clump and I managed to get a couple of decent pictures.

By the time we reached the reservoir at the head of the glen, the skies were darkening, and once we had climbed the adjacent hillside where the suspected witch called Tibbie Tamson was buried, the rain had started in earnest.

There was just time for a quick picture of the pup at the headstone for posterity, before heading briskly back to the shelter of the woods for the journey home.

Don’t forget, you can e-mail me with any interesting sightings, ask a question or send local wildlife pictures to corbie@homecall.co.uk