Alan Dalton post's birding diaries and original artwork from Sweden. Established in 2006, this now long running blog is now a complete overview of my birding experiences. As an artist I greatly enjoy sketching birds in the field and you will find a wide selection of that work here, from fieldwork to finished paintings. I am very passionate about my artwork and try to depict birds in their natural habitat, as I see them in the wild. My artwork is for sale and can be viewed at http://www.alandalton.net/
As regards to my photography, since 2008 I have used a Nikon D90 DSLR camera coupled with a Sigma 150-500mm OS lens for since March 2012 for bird photography, all previous images being digiscoped. Regarding sound recording, I have been usung a Telinga Stereo Dat Mic and parabol to record birds in the field, coupled to a Marrantz 661 digital recorder, a superb piece of kit. Interest in butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies has recently seen the accquisition of a Sigma 150mm macro lens. I hope you enjoy the blog and please feel free to leave comments or contact me at alandltn@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Gulls at Skeppsbron; 1st August 2017

 Herring Gull, argentatus in juvenile plumage. One of just two birds present in this agegroup at the site. Wonderful tail pattern on view in this shot...

 The same juvenile argentatus Herring Gull at rest on the water, a pretty typical individual...


 Common Gull, a pristine, fresh juvenile bird...


 Juvenile Common Gull in flight, immaculate fresh plaumage...


 Adult Baltic Gull calling in front of the camera lens...


 Long calling Baltic Gulls...


More long calling...


 And even more...


 A stunning dark Baltic Gull, adult bird.


Baltic Gull. At close range, many show brownish hues in the upperparts...

Images from a very nice evening watching gulls at Skeppsbron...

Lesser black backed Gull; 3rd Calender Year; Skeppsbron; 31st July 2017

 A rather interesting 3rd calender LBBG. The rather advanced moult drew my attention. Note the newly grown P1-P3, with both P4/P5 both dropped. This bird was photographed by Dirk Van Gansberghe at this site in June and had just begun to moult the innermost primaries at that point, thus the bird has been actively moulting these past several weeks. Since that time around 60% of the median covert's have been replaced with new feathers, but the tail remains the same.


 This shot of the uppreparts cleary shows the full extent of moult in this individual...


 On the deck the bird appeared rather heavy chested and had a slightly shorter primary projection than many of the nearby Baltic Gulls, prompting me to wonder whether this is in fact an intermedius LBBG. There is no way of knowing if this is the case on appearance at this point. Nominate fuscus can show moult to P6 at this time of year also...

 Interestly, this bird had brighter bare parts and bill in June. Note the remains of a thin dark band on the upper mandible, pale iris. There is also much moult apparent on the head of this bird...


Another flight shot...

A few images and some thoughts on this interesting 3rd calender Lesser black backed Gull from Skeppsbron today...

Baltic Gull; Juvenile; 31st July 2017; Stockholm City

 Bird A. A classic juvenile, a coffee toned bird. One of two present, representing the first Baltic Gulls at the site this year in this age group. Always lovely to see these birds appearing at the site...


 Dark underwing markings apparent here, wings look a little rounded and the longest primaries as the lĂ„nges primaries are not quite fully grown...


Bird A. Upperparts in flight, a classic tail pattern and dark primaries.


 Bird B. Slightly smaller, but very simular in appearance to the first bird, quite likely siblings. Lovely fresh plumage with pale fringes to secondaries and tail feathers.

 Bird A. This bird exhibits a quite hooked upper mandible tip and a heavier bill than bird B.


 Bord B. Rather petit, small headed, with a rather fine looking bill, quite possibly a female.


 Above and Below; Bird B in flight..




Bird B at rest, not the light white pacth on the gony's, a frangment of food or a pale spot?

A few images of the first juvenile Baltic Gulls of the year from Skeppsbron here...

Monday, July 31, 2017

Yellow legged Gull in Juvenile Plumage; Bulgaria; July 2017


A trip to Burgas in Bulgaria in late July was in fact not with birding in mind, but rather to unwind with my wife and some friends. Whilst there, on the Black Sea coast, it was impossible for me to ignore the local population of Yellow legged Gulls. Being late July, there were many juveniles present and I was grateful to have the opportunity to study this plumage and take some photographs. There were several interesting individual seen and I was struck by the immense variation on plumage in this population, to the east of their range. The birds were fairly cooperative and I managed some nice images, I will discuss those birds I found interesting in the captions below...



 First up, the most striking juvenile I saw in the area. This bird was remarkably like a Herring Gull at rest, so much so in fact, that I am sure it would most likely overlooked at first glance out of range. Notice the pale appearance, lack of moult in the mantle and scapulars, the remarkable tertial pattern. There are of course hints, even here to the birds true identity, the long primary projection, pale head, dark mask. In flight the bird was more distinct and showed the classic dark underwing, dark upper primaries and a perfect Yellow legged Gull tail pattern...


 A rather typical Yellow legged Gull here, feeding on a piece of lime. Here the tertial pattern is quite typical, along with the full suite of features. Note the typical pale head and dark mask around the eye and the deep based, heavy bill.


 In flight, a bird displaying a classic tailpattern. Very much a typical bird here...


 Here a bird that drew my attention due to the atypical tertial pattern, certainly not what one might expect of a Yellow legged Gull...


 In flight from below, showing the rather dark underwing markings...


 This bird kindly raised it's wings, allowing an excellent view of the underwing and the upper primaries. Agins, a fairly classic bird...


 The same bird discussed above, with atypical tertials...


 A nice view here of this bird tail in flight...


 Another classic juvenile here, a striking bird...


 Again a typical juvenile Yellow legged Gull....


 Anothe typical juvenile, note the long primary projection and heavy chested appearance....


Above and below; A huge, bulky juvenile, a real meatwagon and almost certainly a male...




 A classic juvenile at rest...


 In flight showing the heavy build, deep bill and dark primaries...

Another shot of an obliging bird from the balcony of the hotel....


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Common Redstart; Nacka Reserve; 25th June 2017













An evening walk around Nacka Reserve was very enjoyable, taking in the breeding woodland species. I had nice views on Pied Flycatcher, as well as a wonderful flyby in the form of two juvenile Goshawks at close range, which were soon mobbed by the local Comon Terms over the lake at Dammtorp. Spotted Flycatcher were also feeding yound, whilst Wood Warbler were still trilling in the woods. Best of all were stunning views of a male Common Redstart, which was very agitated. It took me some time to work out what had vexed the bird, it was very skitish and obviously scolding something. In the end, the culprit proved to be a Mink, moving along the bushes along the lakeside. In any case, I was able to get some nice photos and video of the bird, which was a stunner...
Some nice video of the encounter below...


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Common Gull with pale iris; Norra Mallarstrand; Stockholm; 21st January 2017



















After three winters of checking through Common Gulls in Stockholm, finally I registered a bird with some potential today. I had been onsite for around an hour when I picked up this individual and was immediately struck by its pale iris, blight legs and bill. The bird was initially seen on the water and readily came to bread. After rattling off some photos I coaxed it into the air with bread an was again struck by the extensive dark on the primaries. I watched the bird closely for two more hours, getting some excellent photos and making notes. The more I watched. some doubts started to creep in. The streaking on the crown was a worry, and I felt that the dark on P8 didn't reach all the way to the primary covert's. A mirror on P8 was also a niggling doubt. More research is need on this bird and I will return to comment further when I am more informed..