THE very first wander of the new year at the RSPB Black Devon Wetlands near Alloa was a fully booked affair for wildlife enthusiasts.

Sitting right on the doorstep of the town, the nature reserve has been enhanced recently with paths, boardwalks, a pond dipping platform and a viewing screen to admire the various species from.

Organised by the RSPB, around 20 people enjoyed a guided walk through the habitats on Sunday, January 14.

The wet grass and wetland includes freshwater and brackish pools as well as reedbeds and while things can be quiet over the winter, the walk was ideal to birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Those who may have missed out on the opportunity this month, or those who want to come again and see how the wildlife develops, can book a Sunday place for a Wetland Wander on either February 11 or March 11.

Ami Kirkbright, RSPB Inner Forth assistant warden, said: "Join RSPB staff at one of our monthly guided walks at Black Devon Wetlands, Alloa.

"[We'll be] keeping our eyes peeled for resident kestrels, wintering ducks and the screeching water rails inhabiting the sight, while enjoying a Wetland Wander around the reserve to hear about some of the wildlife, habitats and management of the reserve and the plans for the future."

Along with staff from the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, as well as with the generous help of many volunteers, the RSPB spent around 250 man hours improving the site recently to provide a place of discovery for schools, youth groups and families.

In the near-future, three more pond dipping platforms will be constructed to add to the one already in place.

Although the ponds were only created 16 months ago, they are already brimming with insects, fish and newts with the platforms making it easier and safer for children to investigate and learn.

For more information, and to book for upcoming events and guided walks, email or call 01324 832 853.