It’s officially the start of spring, and March in Scotland is a time of warmer and longer days when Mother Nature wakes up after a long winter.
Native deciduous trees, left bare of leaves for months, develop buds of green that will soon become dense foliage, while insects that have lain dormant all winter start to emerge.
More flowers start to bloom, with the likes of tulip, crocus and daffodil joining the early-blossoming snowdrop and primrose.
They are joined a myriad of wildlife starting to think about breeding seasons and bringing up younsters in the weeks to come – as nests are built and perfect mates procured.
So, when you’re out and about Scotland this March, here are the sights and sound you should be looking out for.
1. Spot a prickly character
Hedgehogs are one of only three British mammals to hibernate (the other two being dormice and bats). Over winter they expend so little energy that they only take a breath every few minutes. As the warmer days arrive in March they'll be out and about again - active from dusk seeking out food. Pop a bowl of dog food out in your garden and you might just get a prickly visitor. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
2. Look out for one of Scotland's most pretty insects
The orange-tip is one of the first butterflies of the year to hatch - and is one of the most spectacular. Once relatively rare, in recent years they have become widespread in Scotland and can be seen in city parks and gardens from the middle of March. Only the male has the colorful tips after which they are named, with the female having black patternation rather than orange. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
3. Mad March hares
March is when the mountain hare's breeding season starts, which explains their 'mad' behaviour as they race around, boxing each other for supremacy. They can be spotted on heather moorland and it's the perfect time to see them, as they often still have their white winter coat so are less well camouflaged. Photo: Canva/Getty Images
4. Noisy neighbours return
March sees herring gulls return to their breeding grounds which, in recent decades, has increasingly meant city roofs. They are noisy and cause a mess, but if you have a view of a nest from your window you'll be able to watch the bird's entire lifecycle play out in front of you - from the egg hatching to the fledgling birds taking flight for the first time. Photo: Canva/Getty Images