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
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

Friday, September 29, 2006

Tanto Park; 28th September 2006

Went for an evening stroll around the allotments there not expecting a lot and managed to stumble onto this 1st calender Hawfinch feeding on the deck in one of the gardens. Terrible picture really, just glad to get an image, it soon flew to a large birch and perched out of view before flying off and dissapearing....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sandhamn; 27th September 2006

Once again it was out to the archipelago in search of migrants, though today was a bit of a disapointment. Good numbers of Goldcrests and Song Thrush, as well as non migrant Crested Tits(which avoided the camera yet again).
Highlight was a small skein of 9 Pink Footed Geese to the north of the island coming in over the sea, apparently a good record for the area. Also had low numbers of Redwing, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Siskin and Redpoll. A single Spoted Flycatcher graces the islands cemetary. A Tree Pipit flew over calling.

Photos; Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Sandhamn, 3rd cal. year Herring Gull(scandinavian race), Great Tit, Treecreeper, Eider female sketch.

Robin; Sandhamn; 27th September 2006

Being from Ireland I am well used to Robins, they almost seem to be the commonest bird there at times and are so tame, that they will literally eat out of your hand with a little perseverance.
I had heard that continental robins were more retiring, shy birds. They are in fact quite a common bird here in Sweden. Though they are for the most part absent here in winter, as they leave for warmer places further south, they are abundant and vocal when they return in spring and remain that way until they depart in the late autumn.
It amazes me how hard they are to approach here. I have had a much easier time obtaining images of Thrush Nightingale! I initially didn't really mind, after all they are so common, but after a while it started to annoy me and I began to try and get an image. I have sat motionless for up to an hour, staked out several known singing posts and stalked countless individuals this summer!
Finally its a 1st year passage bird that obliged, which is kind of cheating I know, but still, finally getting these pictures gave me an inordinate amount of pleasure, common though the subject may be...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sandemar; 26th September 2006

A very quiet day on the reserve today, despite long hours searching and the date... 5 Wigeon, 9 Teal, 6 Ruff, 2 juv. Ringed Plover, 2 Crested Tit, 2 Common Buzzard (an appalling day for raptors), Marsh Tit, 14 Long Tailed Tit, 25 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Goldeneye, 6 Eider, 11 Snipe, 45 Medow Pipit, 7 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, 180 Yellowhammer and the usual common passerines noted.
Wind direction and weather systems have been rather poor for vagrants, there has been a prolonged spell of generally sunny fine weather for weeks now, hoping things will improve early next week...

Photo's; Crested Tit, Ringed Plover juv's, Woodpigeon juv, Bracket Fungus, Sandemar.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

22nd September 2006; Norra Jarvafåltet

A pretty quiet day. Walked a long way right the way across the park in a south-westerly direction, from Norrviken train station to Jacobsberg station. Ravalen and the area surrounding the lake quiet, Great Crested Grebes, 200 Coot and a handful of Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and a female Pochard present on the lake, whilst Green Woodpecker, calling Black Woodpecker, Marsh and Crested Tits were the best around the lake.
The walk after that was quiet with the exception of a large Grass Snake. 30 M Kärret was reached after a few hours. This is a migration funnel through Stockholms northern suburbs, though not a lot happens late in the evening. Spent 30 mins here and picked up Marsh Harrier, 3 Kestrel, 45 Siskin, 35 Meadow Pipit, Goshawk and Sparrowhawk before taking some flower photos for ID later. Rough Legged Buzzard, Nutcrackers, Bluethroat and Red Throated Pipit all seen here yesterday.

Photos; Campanula Rotindofolia, Knautia Arvensis (Field Scabius), 30 M Kärret from South, Mute Swan pair on tern platform, Lake Ravalen from south.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Black Woodpecker, 16th September 2006; Sandemar

Black woodpecker once held almost mythical value to me as a youngster. I saw my first, a male, in southern Sweden, in 1991. I was ecstatic at the time. I clearly remember that bird to this day, perched on a telegraph pole in the woods watching me. I have since seen them many times in Poland, Hungary, Belarus and here in Sweden. They still hold a special charm for me and seem to have great presence about them.
This is a bird that has frustratingly avoided my camera lens for some time. Was alerted to this bird, a female, as she flew over my head calling. She continued to be very vocal when she landed and I was able to locate her fairly easily, though she was very aware of my presence and tolerated me only as long as I stayed 50 metres or so away. She eventually settled and started to feed and allowed me to take these images of her. A wonderful bird...

Video grab available on the link below...

Long Tailed Tit; 16th September 2006; Sandemar

Came across a flock of 11 of these little gems today at Sandemar, northern european race of course, which in my opinion are stunning little birds...

Lots of Song Thrush feeding, sketched this one...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Red- Breasted Flycatchers; Landsort;15th September 2006

Two of the three birds I found today. Tough subjects, very active birds, though with patience was happy with the results. Lovely birds...
The second image is the second bird, so to speak, a little warmer on the breast.

Landsort;15th September 2006

A great days birding at a truly quality site that oozes birds... Started with lots of common migrants in the form of endless goldcrests, Robins, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat. After just an hour was alerted by the rattle of a Red-Breasted Flycatcher coming from a sheltered gully, a bit of patience and I was delighted to discover there were two in the same alder! An hour later I was amazed to see a Barred Warbler appear from the same alder to scold a perched Sparrowhawk. This bird promptly dissapeared and was not seen again.
Moved on, saw a superb juv. Goshawk atacking migrants over the southern tip of the island. The mid section of the island produced only a few more common migrants, Marsh Tits and 8 Great Crested Grebes. I learned another Red-Breasted Flycatcher had been caught and ringed at the bird station during the morning. An hour later I found another, unringed, north of the station!!
Back to the lighthouse in the evening for more views of the flycatchers.. While there a Dotterel flew south over head, calling constantly. More came in the form of juv. Hobby scattering flocks of White wagtails before 2 juv. Merlins appeared and gave each other chase before one settled on the rocks. A White Tailed eagle off the ferry on the way back against a glorious sunset brought the curtain down on a great day in the field...

Photos; Goosanders, Mute Swan Pair, Willow Warbler, Merlin

Landsort;15th September 2006

A great site, the most southerly island in the Stockholm archipelago. An old fishing village lies to the south. North of this is damp woodland and alternating rocky outcrops. To the south of the village is the lighthouse where there is a lot less cover, isolated bushes and sheltered gullies, superb for holding tired mgrants...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Årstafältet; 14th Sept 2006

Got up early before work and tried the area again for Bluethroat. Got some nice photo's of Goldfinches and Tree Sparrows in the sunflower plantation, before I turned to notice a strong flying passerine come in over the flowerbeds. It landed on a large sunflower and immediatly cocked its tail! I enjoyed my first Bluethroat, an immature male, in the scope for ten seconds in fantastic light before it dropped into the undergrowth and dissapeared.
Delighted with myself, I eventually gave up hope of a photo and made my way back slowly towards the tram, only to pick up another flighty juv. on the way! Wrapped the day off with some Wheatears, Meadow pipits, Chiffchaff and Greenfinches.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Red Backed Shrike; Årstafåltet; 13th September 2006

Årstafältet is a recreational park within Stockholm city, in the southern suburbs. It is an excellent site in autumn and spring, turning up plenty of passage migrants. Bluethroat had been seen here over the last ten days, it being my bogey bird, I decided to try a few hours here in the afternoon. Despite flogging the place and seeing one highly likely skulking, flighty bird, which I am sure was a juv. bluethroat based on brief flight views, I still feel I cannot tick this one until I see the species in all its glory!
Not all frustration though. This juvenile Red Backed Shrike put in a star turn and sat fearlessly in front of me in glorious sunshine. Also had Whinchat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Wheatear, 80 Tree Sparrow and 40 Goldfinch.