Country Corner

The mistlethrush
The mistlethrush

The thrush of the springtime

Ask anyone what a thrush looks like and most will say it has a speckled breast, even if they have never seen one.

This is certainly the case with the two common thrush species resident here year round, namely the mistle thrush and song thrush.

My picture shows the larger of the two, a mistle thrush.

What handsome birds they are, with their ermine patterned speckles.

Both species are celebrated songsters.

The mistle thrush, or Storm Cock to use an old name, is famed for singing in stormy conditions when all other birds have hidden from the elements.

As for the song thrush, the bird is famous for repeating itself.

This is one of the easiest bird songs to recognise, a loud phrase being repeated two or three times.

Immediately the song thrush then sings a different phrase and immediately repeats it, then another phrase, repeat, new phrase, repeat, and so on.

The variety of phrases is amazing.

With so many folk knowing thrushes are speckled, it amazed me to hear a freind of mine identify a female blackbird as a thrush.

Thinking of it, most folk will see hen blackbirds much more often than they see thrushes.

Hen blackbirds are indeed a bit speckly, but their speckles are brown on brown.

Be assured, thrushes are really, really, speckled!

To see one is to know one.