This week, the snow came, carried in by a storm. And a day ahead of it, the fieldfares arrived.
A flock of about thirty birds took over a crab apple tree in our neighbour’s garden, crowding out the local blackbirds. Every now and then, a few would visit us next door. They kept their distance from the other garden birds busy on the feeders, yet their hunger made them brave, and a couple of them (along with a song thrush) would hop right up to the jasmine by the front door to pluck the berries.
One of the visitors took to guarding some fruit I’d put out at the foot of the garden, reminding me of a single fieldfare who used to visit us years ago, when we had an ancient apple tree. The bird was a plump, waddling creature, seemingly unfazed by anything – and I was pretty sure it was getting tipsy on the fermenting fallen apples.
Anyway, here’s a short poem-in-progress inspired by these latest visitors:
They settle before the snow
On the black boughs of the crab apple tree
Like the notes of a half-remembered song
Sung in fluttering harmonies
Quavered by bright red fruit,
Of movement and feeding and hunger.
When the storm breaks and the snow falls
Over two clipped, sky-white days
The birds strip the tree;
With dusk, they disappear
To roost in the heart of the woods.
Twice they return;
Then vanish for good,
Snow borne on the tips of their wings.