Saturday 6 February 2016

Stork in flight

First new blog post for ages, I know, but I wanted to leave the Goodreads giveaway up as the first one on the page, and it ran for almost the whole of January. I've been busy too, trying to get a new book off the ground as well as all the real-life matters that don't seem to stop just because I'd like to sit down and write. As far as the blog is concerned, I think I'm going to do what I did in the lead-in to publication of The Lantern, all those years ago when I started this blog. That is, post little and often, with glimpses into the background of the upcoming novel due out in April.
So here we are, in this picture, on the salt marches in the sea at Faro, on the Algarve coast of Portugal. The landscape is home to thousands of storks that make their nests anywhere you care to look up in the town, in the recesses of church windows and roofs, on the pediment of the Old Town gates. If you look carefully, there's a stork in flight in the top left of the photo, cropped as much as I can without losing too much focus.

The first evening I was here, I started to notice how most of the streetlamps were tufted with dried grasses and twigs. Then I saw more ragged wigs on church porches and high ledges. I assumed it was yet more evidence of neglect, that weeds had seeded and been left to grow in sandy crevices, but as I began to study them more carefully, I figured it out. They were birds’ nests. There was one high on the stone pediment of the gatehouse to the Old Town, a great wheel of grasses, big as a tractor tyre. I looked up as I passed. I was lucky. I caught a movement inside the wheel, then a powerful white wing extended and then folded in on itself.
                                                                    from 300 Days of Sun
PS. Hmm, now I've had another look at the picture, I'm wondering whether it actually is a stork! This one definitely is, pictured from a ferry boat making its way through the maze of marshy islands. Apologies to any expert ornithologists!


Marcheline said...

Hi! I looked up photos of great white storks flying, and they all seem to have their necks stuck out in front of them. However, most of the herons in flight I found had their necks retracted. I'd guess the bird in your top photo is a heron. Where there are storks, there are bound to be herons, I would guess. Here on Long Island we have wood storks, and about 12 different kinds of herons.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thanks, Marcheline! I will take heron. Someone else suggested an egret, but I think it was bigger than that.

Marcheline said...

I try to live my life without egrets.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Haha...Egrets, I've had a few,
But then again, too few to mention.

sweffling said...

Just found your blog, but will bow out again at the terrible puns; Actually, I wanted to say how much I love the sentence in your extract about the 'ragged wigs on church porches and high ledges'.I'll go straight over to Amazon and look for your books!

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