IT IS NOT every day that my morning walk along the River Devon turns into a rescue mission.

But that is exactly what happened last week following the prolonged torrential rain, which caused flooding in several parts of Clackmannanshire.

The deluge had risen the level of the Devon to such an extent that it had burst its banks and spilled over onto the haugh, or flood plain.

As I splashed my way over this watery expanse the following morning, the inundation was beginning to recede, and as it did so, I discovered numerous small sticklebacks and minnows which had become trapped in the puddles left behind.

I hunkered down by each pool and scooped out as many fish as I could with my cupped hands and released them back gently into the nearby river.

It was only a token gesture, I know, and many hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of fish will have succumbed from the flood.

The impact of rising floodwaters on river wildlife is one of the topics of my new book If Rivers Could Sing, which will be published shortly by Tippermuir Books, and which chronicles a wildlife year on the River Devon.

During such periods there are winners and losers, with birds such as herons and black-headed gulls benefiting from the invertebrates and voles that are revealed by the floods.

For others, such as sand martins and kingfishers, these rising waters can prove a disaster, flooding-out their riverbank nesting burrows, and effectively bringing their breeding season to an end.

Kingfishers will also find it hard to hunt for fish in the swirling muddy-brown waters.

I find the sheer power of the Devon inspiring: it surging rapids and the crumbling banks, and the ability to submerge surrounding fields.

Rivers never stand still, new channels develop, and shingle islands miraculously materialise, whilst others are destroyed and swept away.

The river is as alive as any creature that lives within its bounds – and that's what makes the Devon such a special place.