Flocks of crows wheel over surrounding fields and finish off any mussels that the oystercatchers have missed. In summer come the swallows flying up and over the cliffs with spectacular agility and energy and in winter, immense skeins of pink footed geese. The geese spend their nights on the mudflats of the estuary (a nature reserve) and their days on the fields.
The seabirds - enormous herring gulls and their smaller counterpart the arctic terns - are the masters of the wind. They hang suspended in thermal spirals then emerge at speed, wings tucked flat to their bodies. Grey heron nest on the seaward side of the cliff, lifting off as silvery ghosts in the late afternoon light.
In the winter gloaming, great chattering flocks of starlings roost in the coniferous trees which line the road to the village, drawn across the sky like iron filings to a magnet. The branches seethe with life and clamour as they settle for the night.
Around a thousand souls live in the extended village and I was once one of them. Sometimes, after two years back in the city, I long to be out on the lighthouse path with a flaying wind scouring my face and to be greeted with a companionable Aye (accompanied by an incline of the head) from my fellow walkers and their rainsoaked but happy dogs.
The village of Ferryden straggles along the shore of a North Sea estuary. Its past as a fishing village is reflected in the architecture of its cottages. Painted oxblood, peppermint green and seablue, they face inwards to communal drying greens, where the nets were once laid out.
A series of wells and public lavatories once served the rows of terraces tucked away behind the riverfront. Most are gone now, but one has been converted into a desirable riverfront ‘sitooterie’. This was always a tight-knit community and there are still villagers who bear one of five surnames dating back centuries.
The pub has stood on the site for around two hundred years and has known many colourful characters. A ship's bell tolls last orders gentlemen please and the public bar is papered with currency from around the world, courtesy of visiting seamen.
Rising steeply at the far edge of the village, is a serpentine mile-long clifftop path ending at Scurdie Ness lighthouse. The paving of the path was for the benefit of the lighthouse keepers, although the light has since been automated. Tucked into the cliff, pillbox gun emplacements remain as a reminder of World War II.
A few locals still carry on lobstering, their creels stacked neatly on the beach and the lifeboat station just across the water counts several local men among its crew. On the shallow beach, laundry washing lines are sunk into the sand, spooling out high across the water. At low tide, the shore is rich in driftwood and sea glass.
Dolphins, drifting in from the Moray Firth, can be seen off Scurdie Ness and in summer groups of female seals and their pups bask on the exposed sandbanks, spotted bellies up with twitching tails. They shift languorously down the sand as the tide turns, only slipping into the sea at the last moment.
Eider ducks, with their co-oing call, drift lazily in the water and noisy oystercatchers feast on the abundant mussel beds.