DAWN on the haugh of the River Devon near Tillicoultry and my spirits soared under the uplifting power of nature's ethereal beauty – an orange-glowed sun rose slowly above the mist-wisped meadows and the air had a freshness that was the very elixir of life.

My elation was hard to control, and the still early morning air seemed to exaggerate the stirrings of nature, whether it be the melodic songs of blackbirds, or the rattling of great-spotted woodpeckers as they struck their bills rapidly upon hollow boughs in their welcome to a spring morning.

A pair of wrens bickered in among a tangle of brambles and the soft warble of a robin ebbed and flowed in hypnotic fashion.

A young heron prowled a backwash pool of the River Devon, and I stopped for a while to watch it stalking small minnows and trout.

I've come to know this heron well, and it is a relatively confiding bird that feels relaxed in my presence.

In the distance another old friend materialised – a barn owl, which stalled and hovered over rough pasture in search of field voles.

The owl's white and buff plumage shone out like a shining beacon as it slowly worked its way over the pasture on fluttering butterfly-like wings.

Why have such conspicuous plumage when surely it would have been a better evolutionary adaptation to be brown-feathered and camouflaged like most other owls? It is a natural conundrum to which I have no answer.

On my return journey, I passed a small rookery, which was a hive activity, with the excited 'cawing' of rooks as they shuttled backwards and forwards with twigs in their beaks to refurbish their large, untidy nests in the treetops.

For me, there is no season that comes close to matching the wondrous atmosphere of spring; life was in full flow and the excitement in the air was so palpable that it made my heart sing with joy.