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Best birds seen whilst looking out of a train/coach/plane etc window? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Black-Winged Kite whilst half asleep on a bus in the Algarve transferring from airport to hotel - especially good as was very unexpected: Had just been sat on bus for 2 hours stuck behind an overturned lorry blocking the motorway; finally police turned traffic around to head wrong way back up the carriageway and the kite glided by - slightly surreal and magical!


Had lifer Black Vulture while coming in to land at Port-of-Spain in Trinidad.

Close views of a pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles from a cable car in Australia was memorable.

Lifer Elk/Moose from the Copenhagen-Stockholm express many years ago.

My Icelandic "birds from train" list is 0 and unlikely to change much in the foreseeable future.


Local rarity
My Icelandic "birds from train" list is 0 and unlikely to change much in the foreseeable future.

I'm guessing trainspotting hasn't really caught-on in Iceland.

The highlight of anu autmnday at Falsterbo a few years back was a Steppe Eagle. I managed to miss it when it flew out from Sweden over the sea heading for Denmark, but it got about half way before turning back and flying back to Falsterbo, when I did see it. It then headed back inland. Later that day I caught the bus back to Malmo on the way home to Copenhagen. There, sitting in a field next to the motorway, was the Steppe Eagle.

Actually the Malmo-Falsterbo bus (the no. 100 in case anyone's interested) has been quite productive for me over the years, producing, off the top of my head, White-tailed Eagle, Honey Buzzard and Red-backed Shrike amongst others.


Uncomfortably Numb.
I've had Golden Eagle, Goshawk & Peregrine from the train in Scotland. Barn Owl from the train in Wales & upwards of 50 Red Backed Shrikes from the train in Slovenia & Croatia in a two week holiday years ago.I've had other stuff but I'd need to dig out some old note books.


Well-known member.....apparently so ;)
I guess driving at age 14 you were being chased by the rozzers, hence the inability to stop eh Alex? ;)


Active member
I commute by rail, just ten minutes from home to the centre of Birmingham UK so not a great deal of time or a range of habitats but I keep a record of the birds I see. Nothing too unusual except for a male wheatear on some waste ground pretty much in the centre of Brum and on one journey home I saw the unmistakable flash of a black redstart as it landed on a wall - I was so excited I wanted to stop the train! Looked and looked for another but that's the only one so far...

Brian Stone

A Stone chatting
This got me thinking how fast I've been going while 'birding' and it was slightly surprising that it might not have been by plane. I've seen Black Kite below the plane coming into land at Zaragoza but apparently 737s can be doing under 200mph on approach. Eurostars/TGVs can be going quicker than that and it's certainly possible to clock birds at that speed. Best this year was probably Crane from the Eurostar in northern France.

There are stretches on the Strasbourg/Paris line either side of the Vosges mountains that were very good for herons and egrets and I saw quite a few Great White Egrets and White Storks along there one February.

Another good route is the Perpignan-Avignon line that passes through large coastal lagoons. Huge flocks of Flamingos from the train there earlier this year plus a couple more Great White Egrets.

Of the smaller stuff I've managed Dipper from the train in Switzerland.

I've said before somewhere but best from a plane was a couple of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse flying along side the plane at Zaragoza.

Jane Turner

Well-known member
I've seen Cory's Shearwater coming into land at Lesvos, Red Grouse from a small plane trying to get under a thunderstorm over Derbyshire (Cambridge - Manchester) and frustratingly a flock of small calidrids Red-necked Stints and plausibly Spooners coming into land at Shanghai


Registered User
United Kingdom
We had a flock of c 200 Snow Geese from the plane near Denver, Colorado just before the Sunbird Grouse Tour in 2003.


John o'Sullivan

Well-known member
Black kite twice. Once from a car, second time off a bike both in Gwent two weeks apart (probably two birds). The first had missing secondaries the second one didn't.

I saw the first one initially from the car at the High Cross roundabout Newport, it had been seen a few minutes before by a different birder over the Tredegar park roundabout although I didn't know this at the time. When I saw the first bird it was quite high up but it very coveniently dropped out of the sky until it was at the roof level of the house I was stood next to.

The second sighting a bird that I first saw at roof height directly over my sisters house as I arrived there on my bike.
That bird flew off down the Risca by-pass with me chasing after it on my pushbike. Even though it didn't seem to be going very fast it soon left me behind.

I also saw what had to be a spoonbill as I arrived at a friends house in his car in Bassaleg (Newport). I shouted out what the f~~K is that and jumped out of the car to run after it. Realising after about ten yards that was a stupid idea I jumped back into his car and shouted out "follow that bird", he said "what bird". We drove around for a bit but never caught sight of it again.
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Dave Cox
From trains :

Short-toed Eagle in France, June 1962.

My first Waxwing in Chartham, east Kent, December 1966, just before dawn so silhouette ID only, but unmistakeable.

Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
My 'birds from a moving plane' list is quite good! includes White tailed and golden eagles, peregrine, 3 divers, scaup, velvet scoter, barnacle goose and greenland whitefront, glaucous and little gull, little auk, pom skua, and a few extras such as minke whale and basking shark.

But I guess my list is not really in the spirit of this thread!


Well-known member
best bird from a plane probaly brown pelican and large tern sp coming into san fran airport

best birds by car black stork , lesser spotted eagle , white tailed eagle, great grey shrike all in poland

UK golden eagle , spoonbill , steppe grey shrike the one lincs picked it up as arrived from car


Well-known member
I saw two pairs of Common Crane on a train ride in Germany.

On a related note, I've traveled on the Interstate in my home state several times during the Sandhill Crane migration season. Waaaaay more than four birds there!


Maryland USA (he/him)
United States
While on the runway at Orly airport in France in the 70s (the date was early to mid October), I saw an unidentifiable female harrier, the only harrier I have ever seen in Europe.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
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