DOWN by the River Devon, kingfishers have been a frequent sight on my morning walks, streaking just above the water’s surface on whirring cobalt wings.

They are such stunning birds, the electric-blue plumage as eye-catching as that of any avian beauty from the tropics.

Despite a couple of ferocious spates on the Devon towards the end of the breeding season, when I suspect some nesting burrows may have been flooded-out, they seem to have had a good year on the river.

Kingfishers can have two or three broods in the year, and the nesting during the first part of the season appears to have been successful.

Dippers, too, have had a productive year. Now, they are re-establishing their territories for the coming spring, and their soft warbling songs can often be heard above the gushing tumble of the river’s flow.

On the haugh between Dollar and Tillicoultry, I have also spotted teal in the shallow ponds, having just arrived here to spend the winter.

In my new book on a wildlife year on the River Devon – If Rivers Could Sing – I recounted the wonderful ambience of watching teal in these pools at dusk.

I wrote: “One of my favourite experiences is to seek out a secluded vantage point above these rush-filled pools just prior to dusk, from where I can watch teal flying in to settle in their boggy margins to feed.

As darkness descends, these wonderful little ducks can be heard whistling to each other in the night air, a soft and flute-like call, a mere whispering in the wind.

It is the essence of winter on the haugh, the call so gentle and hypnotic that it is the very music of nature itself.”

I have been delighted by the wonderful response to ‘If Rivers Could Sing’. The book can be bought directly from the publisher at and from bookshops, and online sellers (£9.99).