CLACKMANNANSHIRE is currently embraced with awesome autumnal colour – ochres, oranges and yellows, a wonderful unfolding tapestry that draws the breath away.

But there is more to autumn than just the fiery blaze of leaves, it is also the smell, the heavy dampness of the air and nip of coldness which in a few weeks' time will be very much more severe.

It is also a time of plenty with the abundant haws and numerous other seed plants.

When it comes to the star performers of autumn, then the beech tree is right there at the top.

Whilst the shed leaves of some tree species can be rather dark, limp, and lifeless, those of the beech are crisp to the touch, almost as if they have been toasted over a fire.

The leaves of beech are fascinating to watch as they change colour during the course of autumn, yellow at first before turning orange or reddish brown.

They are dropping and changing colour because they have finished their job of capturing the maximum amount of sunlight, so vital in the manufacture of food for the tree.

Even once shed, leaves still have an important role to play. This leaf litter is like a protective blanket, home to countless invertebrates and rich compost that will return the goodness back to the soil.

Blackbirds in particular spend a large amount of time in autumn and winter flicking over leaves in search of the invertebrate bounty that lies below.

Over the last couple of weeks, redwings and fieldfares have been sweeping into the Wee County.

They have picked a good time to arrive, as our hedgerows are brimming with red-glistened haws and other berries, providing a feast to fatten-up on before the onset of winter.