Monday, December 17, 2007

Birds seen from trains

"Still further on: a solitary ash-gray heron stands motionless in a misty pond formed by the backwaters of the Loire. The giant bird's long beak remains perfectly parallel to the surface of the pond, but its eyes no doubt continue to peer into the shallow water, attentive to the slightest shadow or darting movement."

This is from "Ingrandes," part XVII of John Taylor's Apocalypse Tapestries (which I already posted about here). There's a lot of train riding in Taylor's book, and then he sees birds from the trains.

There's something so vivid about a bird seen from a train: a Little Egret seen from a train in Italy, and then seen again on the way back; a Bald Eagle flying alongside the train from Bellingham to Seattle. So vivid that Taylor later refers to another bird apparently seen from a train:

"A sparkling white egret on the bank of the brackish north fork near Le Cellier." ("Oudon")

If that were in Italy instead of France, Taylor might have seen the same bird I did.


Colin Will said...

When my wife and I were travelling by train over the Tibetan plateau last month (an amazing journey), we saw lots of wildlife - kiang, gazelles, yak - including birds. Golden eagle (close enough to see their yellow feet), lammergeier, a harrier and other raptors, all very close to the tracks, and all ignoring the presence of the train.

Andrew Shields said...

Thanks for the beautiful images, Colin!