For some reason our weather forecasters always predict rain as a message of gloom. I like rain; we need rain. Nothing gives me greater pleasure in winter than to see our little brook changing from a gently flowing stream into a raging torrent, spilling over its banks and filling its flood plain. It looks beautiful, too: a broad ribbon meandering through the countryside, shimmering gold in the setting sun and turning to pure silver as the moon rises.
A flood plain is the place for winter water. It is one of the mad-nesses of our age that farmers have ploughed and drained them to grow arable crops! Drainage engineers have widened and deepened our river beds simply to make the flood plain, nature’s own answer to any excess water, redundant.
But regardless of rain or drought, I do hope that this March will be like last March. It was a month of birdsong — the song of the mistle thrush. The mistle thrush is one of the first birds of the year to burst into song and last year I saw and heard more than for many years.
the “storm cock” or the “storm thrush.” At one time country people believed that its song, sounding clear and near, was a sure sign of rain. The song itself was said to be a rendering of “more wet; more wet,” and soon afterwards it would rain.
The mistle thrush is not the only bird associated with rain. The laughing cry of the green woodpecker is also said to be a warning of wet weather, earning it the attractive country name of “rain bird.” , more here. Perhaps our weather forecasters should start placing pictures of birds on their weather maps instead of “fronts.” It would certainly make their efforts far more interesting.
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