THE walkway from Menstrie to Cambus is always a great place for soaking-up nature's riches.

And no more so than on my most recent visit, when I glimpsed a reed bunting resting in among the tangled branches of a hawthorn.

This bird was a female, and whilst her plumage was largely brown, the different tints and nuances of the feathers really shone-out under the soft winter sunlight.

In spring and summer, the male reed bunting has a distinctive black head and throat, and in the past other Scottish names for the bird included "black bonnet" and "black coaly hood".

Reed buntings are easy to overlook, but they are charismatic little birds, and one of the most reliable places for spotting them in the Wee County is at the Blackdevon Wetlands near Alloa.

The berry-laden hawthorns lining the walkway here at Menstrie, as well as by the nearby River Devon, had attracted roving flocks of fieldfares.

They are colourful thrushes, which arrive on our shores every autumn from Scandinavia and eastern Europe to spend the winter.

They cackle to each other as they avidly devour the haws, moving all the time in a bounding flight.

Shortly after, and down on the Devon, a large flock of mute swans had congregated on the water, and I have noticed in previous years that good numbers congregate here very winter.

Up in the sky, a flight of several swans swooped overhead, their wings digging deep into the cold winter air.

They veered across the heavens until their white-cloaked forms shimmered against the dark backdrop of the Ochils.

It was an inspiring sight, and as the flock made a wide turn back towards the Devon, I reflected upon the wonderful scenery and abundant wildlife found in Clackmannanshire, making this a such a special place in which to live.