Caught by the River

A Redwing Winter

5th March 2010

by Phil Thornton

They came one morning
A few days after the snow
And perched on next door’s tree
Whose branches hung over the fence
We didn’t recognise them
This alien flock with immigrant songs
As they flew from tree and tree
Yet all pointing in the same direction
As if awaiting a signal of some kind
A kind of thrush perhaps
Yet none we’d ever seen before
Fat as magpies yet splashed
With red and white on the wing
On the head, mottled breast
We got the books out, googled them
No luck but described them to Margaret
Who instantly named this mysterious breed
They stayed for a couple of days
Made their home in our gardens
A stopping point, a staging post
En route to some warmer destination
Blown off course or simply lost?
The snow fell heavily that winter
It took us and the redwings by surprise

(Phil’s blog)