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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Angarn; 28th April 2008

Slavonian Grebes




Male Ruff

Sketches done at Angarn yesterday, mostly Slavonian Grebes. Male ruff in summer plumage also here. Black and white certainly does not do these justice and will work these into colour work in the near future...

Angarn; 28th April 2008

Yellow Wagtail

Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper
Male Ruff


Greylag Pair

Cranes migrating

A really enjoyable day out at Angarn in glorious spring sunshine today. The reserve is in pristine condition, with perfect water lavels and bird activity was high all day. Waders were a feature, with 8 male Ruff a highlight. 7 Wood Sandpiper were also present feeding along the margins, for once they were remarkably approachable and allowed me my best shots of the species to date. A booming Bittern provided a great backdrop to the scene as it called through the evening from the reedbeds. 2 Eurasion White-fronted Geese were notable, as were 4 Marsh Harriers, both pairs nest building. Summer passerines were also noted, resplendent Yellow Wagtails the best, 3 were seen during the day, singing on territory. My first Willow Warblers of the year also heard and small numbers of newly arrived Swallows hawked insects overhead. 9 Slavonian Grebes provided a touch of vivid colour and gave superb views.
Other species noted included 7 Cranes, 4 Gadwall, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, Sparrowhawk, Common buzzard, 8 Whooper Swans, 2 Redshanks among a host of commoner species...

Slavonian Grebes; Angarn; 28th april 2008

Slavonian Grebe

Pair Nest Building...

Slavonian Grebe

Displaying Pair...

The species I went to Angarn specifically for today were these Slavonian Grebes, which have just returned to the site. At the minute the lack of lush vegetation at the reserve makes them easily viewed as they set up territory, display and nest build. In a few weeks however, they will be much more difficult to see as dense reed and sedge growth progresses rapidly, offering thick cover to the birds, within which they raise their young.
A stunning species in summer plumage, the golden ear tufts in particular give them a rather exotic appeal. I saw nine birds today, four of which were paired and showing signs of breeding, with one pair actively nest building. A joy to relax in warm spring sunshine and watch these birds, allowing me both to sketch and photograph them at about 30 metres range.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tyresö Slott; April 23rd 2008

Great Crested Grebe

A really quiet day at the slott, nothing really notable. Had hoped for some early summer migrants, but as yet nothing has arrived and it may be a week or so until the floodgates open. Great Crested Grebes were present in numbers, as always at this time of year, with about 15 pairs displaying and nest building. A few Coot pairs were also busy nest building and squabling over territory. No sign of the Green Sandpipers seen here two days ago whilst fishing, also Hawfinches were not seen or heard today, though a pair have been present at the site. Black Woodpecker heard distantly, with an elusive Green Woodpecker still avoiding the camera lens, wondering if I will ever get a decent shot of this species! A couple of Redwings were seen among the feeding flocks of Fieldfare, passage birds on their way north....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hawfinches; Tantolunden, 11th april 2008

An active species right now, have been able to locate two pairs of Hawfinch in nesting habitat within five minutes of the apartment. No leaves on the trees yet, so decided to take advantage of some lovely weather and nipped down today with the scope and the sketchbook. The birds did not dissapoint and I enjoyed my best ever views of the species over 90 minutes or so, really enjoying it in the process. Best of the pencil sketches above....

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Tyresta National Park; 3rd April 2008

Reed Bunting (male)

Male Blackbird in morning dew...

Chaffinch (male)


Nyfors Falls, Tyresta.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (male)

Flaten, Tyresta.

A very early start saw me on site at 6.00am. The reason for this was that woodpeckers drum rather intensively just after sunrise at this time of the year, as well as the dawn chorus being at it's peak at the same time. The first couple of hours produced excellent numbers of the expected woodpecker species, the best being 6 Black Woodpeckers, four of which were seen, three males and a single female, albeit fleetingly as is so typical of the species. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was also located at it's drumming post, it's higher pitched blows ringing through the forest making it easily found. 19 Greater Spotted Woodpeckers and an excellent total of 10 Green Woodpeckers made the day rather successful. At least one pair of Three Toed Woodpeckers are present in the park, however the park is vast and locating these birds will take a huge effort and not a little luck, suffice to say no joy today. Other good birds included a Parrot Crossbill briefly, whilst a Nutcracker was frustrating heard calling without being seen. A pair of Black Throated Divers were present on Flaten Lake, though distantly viewed, still superb to see in fresh summer plumage. A pair of Hawfinches were also located on territory. Amongst the 43 species noted the others worthy of a mention included a male Goshawk, 1 Lapwing, 30+ Jay, 5 Common Buzzard, 1 Raven, 4 Long Tailed Tit, 6 Crested Tit, 5 Willow Tit, 1 Mistle Thrush and 2 Lesser Black Backed Gull.
A huge amount of ground covered today over eight hours birding, really enjoyable though and well worth the effort. Roll on the arrival of the summer migrants....

A video grab here of the drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, picture is a little dark as it was very early, though the sound quality is good for those interested in how this species sounds...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008