AUGUST is my least favourite month in Clackmannanshire's nature calendar because everything is so quiet – many flowers have finished blooming, birds are in moult and lying low, and the dawn chorus is but a distant memory.

I always feel a twinge of guilt when I ponder my antipathy towards August because the reality is that all months of the year are special, and in August's case it is a time for nature to refuel and prepare for winter.

Under the cover of thick foliage, blue tits and treecreepers are making good the rich bounty of insects and steadily building their fat reserves, whilst berries ripen and seeds spill upon the ground.

Whitethroats, blackcaps and other warblers have raised their young and are preparing to migrate south to warmer climes.

It is a disappearing act by stealth – and over the next few weeks these warblers and other summer visitors will gradually slip away, until the realisation hits me that they are no longer here.

It is a moment of sadness, but also one of anticipation with the imminent arrival of our first winter visitors such as geese once the cool air of September has taken hold.

Rowan and elder berries are turning colour, and the hedgerows throughout the Wee Country are hanging heavy with vinous bramble berries.

In a local pinewood, the ground is thick with blaeberries, the plant leaves turning scarlet with the approach of a new season.

Down by the River Devon, it has been an excellent breeding season for kingfishers and I often see them flying fast on blue-flashed wings low over the water surface on most visits.

The sand martins have also enjoyed a good breeding season, although most only raised one brood this year, before suddenly vanishing from the river.

The sandpipers have long gone, and I miss their lively demeanour and persistent piping calls along the riverbank.

In a quiet woodland near Tillicoultry, I have found my first glistening red caps of fly agarics, and other fungi such as boletes.

Summer is relinquishing its hold and autumn is approaching, one season transforming seamlessly into the next as nature prepares for the shortening days and the gradual fall in temperature.