IT WAS the colour against the far bank of the River Devon that caught my eye – so impossibly bright and vibrant that it just had to be worth investigating.

Sure enough, when I brought the object into focus through my binoculars, a wonderful orange and azure kingfisher filled the lens.

They are normally such shy birds, but this one seemed remarkably relaxed as it sat on a small branch overhanging the river about half-a-mile or so upstream from Tillicoultry.

I had been a bit worried about the Devon kingfishers – they hate cold weather and there has been a lot of frost and snow recently. But this one was in good condition and seemed to have survived the freeze with ease.

This was a female bird, distinguished from the male by the reddish tinge to her underbill.

Hopefully, she will be able to endure any further cold snaps and will find a mate by the spring.

I watched her for a while longer, but something eventually spooked her, and she whirred away upriver on electric-blue wings.

Not long after, I came upon the old and bruised hulk of a decomposing tree that must have fallen many years ago.

Just as how the kingfisher had brought colour to the Devon, then so too had this gently rotting tree trunk, for it was festooned with eye-catching fungi.

There was yellow brain fungus and the orange speckles of coral spot fungus, as well as jelly ear and wrinkled crust.

In total, there were at least eight different species of fungi all within a metre or so of each other on the trunk. In its death, this tree had brought new life.

That's nature; it's called the cycle of life.