THIS expanse of pine wood near Aberdona in the central part of the Wee County is such a peaceful place, with just the whisper of the breeze blowing through the canopy above.

But soon another gentle sound floats across the treetops; the simple sweet twittering of a small flock of siskins, flitting and skipping high through the branches.

Siskins are such acrobatic little finches, always on the move and full of boundless energy, often hanging upside down from a twig much in the same way as a blue tit does.

The male siskin is a most colourful bird; olive on the back and shading to yellow on the rump, with the crown and chin greyish-black, which contrasts marvellously with the overall green tones of the plumage.

They are also rather shy creatures and hard to approach close, but the recent cold weather has attracted a pair to my bird table, which has enabled me to appreciate the wonderful colour of their feathers from close-up.

I move on a bit further through the wood and soon I hear a familiar and rather metallic repetitive call.

The noise gets gradually louder and over the trees appears a small party of crossbills that quickly settle on a pine. But they soon take to the air again, their calls gradually fading into the distance.

Crossbills are one of our most specialist feeders, with their unique crossed-over bills specially designed to extract the seeds from conifer cones.

The air falls silent again, apart from the distant cawing of a carrion crow.

It has been a while since I had last visited this wood, but I will return again soon because I suspect it has many more wildlife secrets to reveal.