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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Toftberget; Northern Uppland; 30th March 2008

Grey Headed Woodpecker(female)

Parrot Crossbill

Parrot Crossbill
After a short sleep we rose at 04.45 and were quickly on the move. First stop was the Eagle Owl site, though yet again there was no activity perhaps due to the wind. We moved on and again tried for calling Ural Owl without any success either, before heading for Toftberget.
We arrived at the site just before sunrise, mainly in order to listen for drumming woodpeckers. Things were rather quiet at first, before the first drumming was started by Greater Spotted Woodpeckers. A Green Woodpecker called soon after and then we hit gold. Again a whistled immitation of a call resulted in a response, this time the species called in was a male Grey Headed Woodpecker! Amazingly it was followed by not one, but two females and we were amazed to realize there were no less than three Grey Headed Woodpeckers in the tree we were looking at! This is a very scarce species in Sweden and to see three together is truly exceptional. We watched them for a while before our attention was called elsewhere by some outstanding birds.
Almost every species we hoped to see at the site put in an appearance over the next 90 minutes or so. First were 5 male Black Grouse that flew low over the trees, a brief but excellent view. Another then appeared from nowhere and perched on a spruce for ten seconds or so. Next we were treated to 9 Bean Geese, Willow Tits, Crested Tit, 9 Mealy Redpoll and a probable Common Crossbill. Then a lifer for Aidan came in the form of a pair of Parrot Crossbills that gave very good views as they perched in a spruce top before flying off calling loudly.
We then moved sites in order to search for another wanted species. We were fortunate to flush four Capercaillie from close to a known lekking area later in the morning, three males and a probable female, though it was not seen well as it crashed through low vegetation and dissapeared into the forest. As further searches for Hazel Hen proved useless later into the early afternoon we decided to call it a day. Not quite finished though and a large flock of 85 Whooper Swans were seen on the return journey in a field alongside the road. All in all a fantastic weekend's birding, one of those rare times when everything fell into place and good fortune was firmly on our side.

1 comment:

Jochen said...

Three Grey Headed Woodpeckers in Sweden?
Wow, that is VERY special!!

Congratulations! I also like your new layout.