THE Delph Pond in Tullibody is a little oasis for waterfowl that find sanctuary within its sparkling waters and is always worth of visit.

Tufted ducks are one of the stars at Delph Pond and they are usually shy in demeanour, but on my most recent visit they were as bold as brass and swam close to me as I stood by the water’s edge.

Tufties are engaging little ducks, the drakes sporting punk-style crested ‘haircuts’, while the brown plumaged females exhibit an under-stated elegance, which I find compelling.

Tufted ducks are often active by night. Thomas Coward, the renowned 20th century ornithologist, noted: “The tufted’s habits are fairly regular; as a rule, most of the day is spent idly on the water, the birds slumbering with the blue bill tucked into the black back, floating lightly, like small black and white buoys swinging in the wind”.

Once darkness falls, these enchanting little ducks stir into action, diving in the shallows for aquatic weeds and invertebrates, their black and white bodies blending seamlessly with the moon dappled water.

A lone goosander also plied the surface of Delph Pond, frequently dipping his head under the water as he scanned for fish lurking below.

Like the tufted duck, goosanders are normally wary of people, but this one at Delph Pond had got used to people passing by and was confiding in nature.

Also about were mallards and black-headed gulls. A moorhen caught my eye by a reedy corner, flicking its white tail feathers in nervous agitation before calming down once more to resume feeding.

As it trod away, the impossibly long toes were most noticeable, almost comical in appearance.

The moorhen’s expansive feet are essential for spreading the weight when walking upon floating water vegetation or across soft mud.

I lingered for a while longer at Delph Pond, watching the serenity of nature drift by.

However, it wasn’t all calm and contentment – a group of drake mallards suddenly started squabbling amongst themselves in frantic agitation.

The breeding season is approaching, and with the surge of hormones coursing through their bodies, they were becoming feisty and temperamental.