IT WAS a case of using your ears rather than eyes last week when I ventured down to the inner Forth for a walk between Cambus and Alloa.

It was one of those days when a thick mist had settled upon Clackmannanshire and as I made my way along the coastal path towards Alloa it was impossible to see any birds out on estuary at all. But I could hear them – oh yes, there was plenty of sound around.

There were the gentle piping calls of teal and the whistling wings of goldeneye ducks and somewhere up in the grey murk I could hear a flight of pink-footed geese honking. A herring gull let rip too with its familiar and rather raucous call.

Then came the familiar burbling song of a curlew, a wonderful liquid trill that echoed through the gloom.

The bird appeared momentarily through the haze as it flew along the shore but when it saw me, veered away back into the grey gloom.

Truth be told, it became quite enjoyable relying upon sound when searching for these birds and it certainly made for a day with a difference.

As I headed back to Cambus, it seemed that the sun was on the verge of breaking through and the soft light played gentle shadows upon the little ridges that scored the tidal mudflats.

A pair of redshanks briefly materialised as they foraged on the mud but were then gone again as the mist once again descended.

The sun had lost its battle, the grey was going to be here for the day. But I Iike grey; it is, after all, one of the hues of nature; a colour of life.