WILD spaces are such an important element of our towns, and no more so than at Delph Pond in Tullibody, which shines out as a haven of life; a place where locals can get right up close to nature.

And this was certainly happening for a little girl and her parents who were feeding the pond's mallard ducks with pieces of bread on my most recent visit.

Interestingly, there were several goosanders attracted by the bread, too, which surprised me as I presumed they were total fish-eaters.

As they fed in the melee of swirling water, some of the goosanders opened their bills in a threatening manner to shoo away any mallards that had bobbed too close.

The feeding frenzy provided a good opportunity to admire these normally shy birds at close quarters, including being able to observe the saw-like edges to their bills, so designed to grip onto slippery fish.

As well as the goosanders and mallards, a pair of mute swans was present, and every so often a black-headed gull swooped down to snatch some food.

But not every water bird was tempted, and on the far edge of the pond a shy moorhen lurked in the thick bank-side vegetation.

This really was a scene of nature and people coming together, and for the wee girl, a brilliant opportunity to see wild creatures from only a short distance away.

Getting children to connect with nature is so important, and the people of Tullibody are fortunate to have such a wonderful place as Delph Pond right on their doorstep.