Venturing outdoors early on magnificent Millport on Sunday morning, the contrast to the day before couldn't have been any more extreme, writes Calum Corral.

On Saturday, heavy rain, clouds, and stormy seas made me wish for more pleasant weather on my crossing to the Isle of Cumbrae on the MV Loch Shira - this certainly wouldn't do at all for cycling!

But just 24 hours later, we were greeted to a glorious sunny morning, the sort which have been all too infrequent lately.

And walking along the shoreline, it was easy to see that there had already been some displacement, with seaweed, debris, and stones washed up, on to the pleasant prom walk.

However, in the other direction, and with the palm trees on the seafront at Millport, it looked as if it could have been a tropical resort at 10am!

Uploading some pictures on Facebook, some of our readers certainly agreed, with Joan Cannon commenting: "Who needs to go abroad look what's on our doorstep?"

Despite the bad weather on Saturday, it was again quite mild for this time of year, and I didn't need the heating on again, most unusual for December.

And during my morning walk, venturing up once more to the Cathedral of the Isles, crocus bulbs were appearing to bloom within the gardens, yet by another extreme contrast, looking over to the Isle of Arran, there was a clear sprinkling of snow.

The Isle of Cumbrae is of course well known for its bird life, and it is good to see that the island is seriously looking at marine tourism as a potential money-spinning avenue.

On the Cal Mac ferry, and in various places around the island, there are bird maps, and you don't have to venture too far to see our feathered friends enjoying the many benefits of Millport!

There were a couple of wag-tails down by the shore on Sunday morning, while you could hear the pleasant hark of the crows on the high trees at the Cathedral - it almost sounded like relief, although short-lived, from the winter storms.

And with Storm Frank now very much with us this week, it is going to be a testing time for all the little creatures, and birds, on our shores, and this is one of the reasons we have approached Dr. Phil Cowie at the Millport Field Studies Council to write a column on the issue.

I remember during another rare period of sunshine on a sunny morning in early December, I ventured along the seafront near the Royal George Hotel in Millport, and heard the pleasant warbling noise of an excited group of fairly unusual looking birds,, so I asked retired 'News' editor David Carnduff, who used to write this very column, for his thoughts.

He told me that they were turnstones and purple sandpipers who were busy sunning themselves on the rocks. It would appear Millport have some new marine tourists already!