ONE of the most enjoyable approaches to Gartmorn Dam is from Coalsnaughton, taking the track that leads directly down to the reservoir.

It skirts past woodland and attractive rolling farmland, and it was in one such field that I happened upon a large flock of greylag geese enjoying a rare blast of winter sunshine.

They quite literally seemed to be chilling-out, relaxed and content in each other's company.

With spring rapidly approaching, they will soon be thinking about embarking on their northwards migration to breeding grounds in other parts of Scotland or Iceland.

By the trackside, a dazzle of yellow-flowering gorse caught my eye.

There is an old country saying that goes along the lines of 'when gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season' – a reflection of the fact that at least a few of its vibrant yellow flowers are always in bloom, no matter the time of year.

Soon, I was down by the edge of Gartmorn Dam. Goldeneye and tufted ducks roll-dived out on the water, and a pair of coots busied themselves by the shore edge.

The whistling calls of teal breezed through the air, such a gentle and serene sound.

Male ducks tend to get all the plaudits because their plumage almost always outshines that of females.

However, for me, female ducks have an under-stated beauty, and this was certainly the case with one stunning goldeneye out on the water, who displayed intricate but subtle plumage, along with a most striking bill, tipped with beige.

She was a true lady of the loch, a little gem that brought grace and elegance to the sun-sparkled water.