The mistle thrush is a proud character, who first came to my attention last spring. He is back again this year and hard to miss. He always stands so upright, even as he forages for food. His personality carries notes of fearlessness and he is unapologetic, fiercely guarding the berry bearing tree in our garden.
He is not alone, but is joined by his partner in song: Mrs Mistle Thrush (I’ve given her this title – we haven’t been formally introduced). Nevertheless, I feel as though I am on good terms with this couple. They don’t fly away when I put the washing out and are content to gather materials for their nest, while I watch.
And as I note the grace of their feathers – white corners to fanned tails, I turn to my notepad, give words to their image, feel as if I hold spring in my hands. Of course, spring can be a tumultuous season. One day, the sun might roar. The next, the clouds might hang in a state of limbo while we almost wish for rain – anything would be better than this murmuring threat. Then, the rain obliges us with sudden abandon, drops fall so hard they could be stones and the wind grips the trees until they shudder.
Through it all, the mistle thrush remains cool and grey. His song seems poignant on the darker days; sung in a minor key, it has a similar sound to that of the blackbird. Compared to a song thrush, the mistle thrush pauses more often in his singing. His call is very impressive – it has a distinct rattling quality, sending the message that he means business!
The presence of birds often feeds into my writing. Last year, I wrote lots of micropoetry based on nature sightings and I’m feeling the urge to do so again, so stand by and check back soon . . . Meanwhile, landscapes and small creatures are playing a big part in my novel. Having lived in the countryside for the past five years, I’m able to draw on my memories and current experiences to add colour to the growing pages. It feels good to be inspired.