THE stretch of the River Devon to the south of Alva is remote and not easily accessible, but as I found on a visit last week, its quiet banksides are a haven for wildlife.

I followed a track down by the edge of Glenochil village and a short while later reached the river, which in this part of the Wee County is languid and slow flowing.

The alders on the bankside here dripped with dangly catkins that swayed gently in the breeze.

Alders are very much steeped in folklore, and according to ancient belief, the tree was feared because its wood takes on a blood-orange hue when cut, as if bleeding.

A flash of green caught my eye in one of the alders – a party of feeding siskins. They are such live-wires, always on the move and bounding from branch to branch in an undulating flight.

The day was unusually warm for the time of year, and there was much birdsong in the air, including the repetitive ‘teacher, teacher’ call of a great tit.

In a nearby wood a song thrush was also in full flow, with each musical phrase repeated twice, before going onto the next.

This was remarked upon by Robert Browning in his poem ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’.

That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture!

On the river bobbed a small group of mallards, working their way through exposed roots on the bankside as they meticulously scoured the shallows for food.

Then, a flash of electric blue streaked up the river on whirring wings followed by a piercing cry.

It was a kingfisher, and the perfect way to round-off a most interesting foray to this unfrequented part of the River Devon.