A DELIGHTFUL short walk runs from the east side of Tillicoultry and along the Ochil scarp below Kirk Craigs to Mill Glen on the western edges of the town.

Starting from the small medieval graveyard (which is well worth a look for its fascinating ancient gravestones), I wandered up a beautiful strip of woodland that lined either side of the Kirk Burn.

Here, sweeping drifts of snowdrops carpeted the ground, and the first green shoots of bluebells were poking through the ground.

These snowdrops were magnificent in their full glory, the white petals splayed open on nodding heads. Sadly, this was their swansong, and they will now be wilting.

The signs of spring were all around, including a feisty cock wren that sang with real gusto from the top of a fence post.

The wren is an incredible songster, spilling forth a rich volley of notes that belies his tiny stumpy form.

The male in spring puts every ounce of energy into his song, the wings and tails vibrating with the sheer passion of delivery.

But perhaps the most endearing part of his behaviour is the endless effort in trying to impress female birds with his nest building skills.

In spring, the determined cock bird will build several intricately constructed nests in his territory to attract a mate.

This ball-shaped masterpiece with its tiny entrance hole woven near the top is sometimes built in a bush, but more typically situated in a crevice in a wall, or amongst the roots of an up-ended tree.

A female bird will then cast a critical eye over each nest and the one that meets with her approval is lined with feathers in preparation for egg laying.

It was also wonderful to hear a 'drumming' woodpecker on this walk. It is a peculiarly strange noise quite unlike that made by any other bird and is more of an energetic rattle than a drum.

The 'drumming' is a territorial and courtship ritual that is delivered by rapid strikes of the bill against a tree trunk or branch.

The resultant rattling sound can carry a considerable distance if the conditions are right, with hollow boughs producing the loudest and most resonant notes.

I was so taken by the bird song and the rattling woodpecker, that I stopped for a while and sat on a sunny slope near Mill Glen, soaking up the wonderful ambience of spring that had embraced this little stretch of hillside