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From Fox's Earth to Mountain Tarn
Days among the wild animals of Scotland by J. H. Crawford (1907)


INTRODUCTION

THIS book is a contribution to the natural history of Scotland. It tells of days among the wild creatures; days selected from many days, because more crowded with incident, against a picturesque background. It starts from the earth of a lowland fox, and ends by a lonely mountain tarn. It ranges from the border to Shetland, from burn to river, from shaded lane to fenceless moor and bare mountain top. Trout and salmon, singing-bird to eagle, field mouse to deer—all find a place. The current ripples; the rings break out on the pools; in the twilight the voles come forth from their tunnels. The rod flashes its silvered line; the bay of the hound, the crack of the gun echo through the pages. It is confined to the north. Scotland is, perhaps, the only part of the British Isles where the term wild life has much meaning.

The object is to open the general eye to the charm, to waken an interest in the general mind. Nothing is so fatal as indifference. Rare forms have passed out of existence, others are passing. Our land is poorer than she was, and richer than she will be. Against this depletion I strive with all my might.

Alike to pursuer and pursued, Sport is bright and bracing. Pleasant are her footmarks along the stream bank above the sedges; her breath, the purple moorland breeze that brushes the heather. But she may be ugly, and try the patience of those who love her most wisely. Modern sport selects such as she cares to follow, and kills out their enemies. A wild creature without natural check is ever, more or less, tame and unfit. Among the doomed are the wild cat, the greater weasels, and the birds of prey. More than any others these forms make of Scotland an interesting land, and ought to be her chief charge. Sport owes much to them. Without eagle and falcon were no twelfth of August.

J. H. CRAWFORD.

1906.

CONTENTS

  1. Lowland and Hill Fox
  2. Eagle and Falcon
  3. Wild Cat, Marten, and Polecat
  4. The Years of the Persecution
  5. Hoof and Claw
  6. Sedge-Warbler and Eel
  7. Haunt of the Water Vole
  8. The Northern Isles
  9. Down the Tweed
  10. Salmon and Trout
  11. Lanes and Woods
  12. Golf Links and Wild Life
  13. Osprey, Tern and Gannet
  14. Crows and Gulls
  15. August in Scotland
  16. The Otter
  17. Days with the Otter Hounds
  18. From Weasel to Ptarmigan
  19. On Wilder Wing
  20. Winter
  21. The Tarn and the Tail Stream

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