DOWN by the River Devon, a mother goosander has been busy shepherding her brood of youngsters along the watery bankside folds and tucks between Dollar and Tillicoultry.

There are six youngsters in all, and if I approach too close, the mother will give a warning ‘kra-ak’ call and the wee ones will scoot away to the far bank.

They go so fast, it is almost as if they are running on the surface of the water.

Goosanders breed here on the river most years and it is good to see them doing so well. As a fly-fisher, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that they will be feasting upon trout.

They are, after all, an integral part of the environment and belong here.

On the bankside, I’ve come across several giant bellflowers. I’ve never found this plant along this part of the river before, but I know they occur further upstream in the shady woods of the Devon Gorge.

I suspect floodwaters have carried their seeds downstream to colonise areas new. They can grow to more than a metre in height and their large lilac flowers are most attractive.

The beautiful large yellow blooms of monkeyflower are also prevalent just now on the shingle islets of the river.

A native of Alaska, the plant has colonised our rivers after escaping from gardens and they bring real colour and vibrancy to the landscape.

The flowers are a magnet for pollinating insects, and despite being non-native, they are a rather benign species.

Another wildflower to watch out for just now is meadow crane’s-bill. The flowers range from blue to purple, and the plant is so-name because the long seed-heads do indeed look a bit like a crane’s bill.