Early morning in woodland by Tillicoultry and it was still dark, the sun requiring another hour or so until it brimmed the horizon. Yet, nature was stirring.

A fluty pair of notes, followed by another couplet of musical brilliance, so pure and clear it drifted across the dark air like a haunting lament.

It was a song thrush, and further away across the burn another one tuned-up from high in a tree, lilting his spring song as if in a musical competition.

The poet Thistle Wargul wrote: ‘So sweetly you sing little song thrush, Though speckled brown only you are, With a delicate voice like a piccolo; Skylark, blackbird and robin are jealous you sound so nice’.

Mesmerised by the beauty of the piccolo dawn music, I closed my eyes and let its ethereal beauty ripple across my soul. How could these delicate birds produce a song of such incredible depth and perfect pitch quality?

Whenever I dwell upon nature, there are many questions and so few answers. I have long since concluded that the ‘why’ is largely irrelevant, it is only the actuality that matters.

The song thrush has one of the longest singing periods of any bird – sometimes beginning in late December and not finishing until the end of August, a marathon songster that brings glorious enchantment to the world.

The first glimmer of light now streaked the morning sky and a blackbird began to sing, the song deeper and throatier than that of the thrush. The blackbird may not have the same variety of notes in his repertoire, but the song nonetheless had a hypnotic and alluring quality that brought back memories of springs long past when as a child I would listen in similar wonderment to nature’s sweet music.

Several beech trees towered above me, the pale smooth bark of their trunks catching the soft luminescence of the rising sun. Gilbert White, the pioneering 18th century nature diarist, described the beech as ‘the most lovely of all forest trees, whether we consider its smooth rind or bark, its glossy foliage, or graceful pendulous boughs”.

Naturalist Richard Mabey in ‘Flora Britannica’ noted that the beech has something of a feminine image – an example of elegance that acted as a foil to the rugged masculinity of the oak. As I ran my hand down the smooth bark of one beech, I understood what he meant, for the beech is polished perfection, genteel yet with an inner strength – which in some ways is a perfect encapsulation of the whole of nature itself.