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

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spain;September 2008

Black Redstart




Cory's Shearwater

A selection of some of the sketches made whilst on holiday in NW Spain tthis past week, all from Illa de Ons and Illa de Cies, two islands off the coast of Pontevedra. More photos on the sister blog, Blogbirder...

Illa de Cies; 15th September 2008

Wall Lizard Sp.

Little Egret

Illa de Cies; View from lighthouse...

Pied Flycatcher

Illa de Cies; View north of lighthouse...

Black Redstart

Illa de Cies; one of eight beaches...

Illa de Cies surprised me in one way in regard to it's sister island, Illa de Ons, in that it was even more stunning to look at. Impossibly beautiful in places and with some of the best scenery I have ever witnessed anywhere in the world.

Again migrants were a feature with Pied Flycatcher, Firecrest, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Blackcap and Common Buzzards noted. An early surprise was a Kingfisher feeding from rocks in a lagoon near the pier. Cory's Shearwaters passed north at sea a little distantly for ideal viewing on this occasion. Black Redstarts were a feature in the rocky areas close to low cover, where Sardinian Warblers and Fan Tailed Warblers were also picked up too. Higher on the island, whilst making a gruelling climb to the lighthouse good view were had of Short Toed Treecreepers, located initially on call among the pine trees. Skinks were everywhere as I approached the lighthouse where I paused to take in a completely breathtaking view. As if the scene was not enough in itself I was thrilled when a Lanner Falcon passed me at eye level as it flew north along the atlantic cliffs, a lifer for me and totally unexpected, a thrilling sight in every way. Made my way back to the pier happily, stopping to sketch as I went before boarding the ferry after a great days birding.

Illa De Ons; 11th September 2008

Serin (male)

Illa de Ons

Illa de Ons

Illa de Ons is a national park off the north-west coast of Spain in Gallicia and the location on a day trip whilst on a weeks holiday visiting friennds in the port of Canges. A quite stunning location complete with rugged cliffs and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. No surprise then that seabirds were a feature with several Balearic Shearwater and Cory's Shearwater noted, my first in a number of years. Medaterranian Gull, Sandwich Tern, Yellow Legged Gull, Shag and Turnstone were other species noted...
On the island itself passage migration was apparent, Pied Flycatcher were the first migrants seen, feeding in the garden around the village. Several Firecrest were then picked up, calling as they too fed. Spent a while sketching before moving on to look for more. Coal tits, Willow Warblers and Swallows soon followed, every piece of suitable cover was found to be swarming with Blackcaps. Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Linnet, Bullfinch, Stonechat and Whitethroat were perhaps resident on the island. Two Fan tailed Warblers were found on some long grass higher up on the island and gave good views as their curiousity got the better of them.
All too quickly the last ferry was due and I had to leave. If I am honest not a huge variety of species, but throw in the location and it's rather impressive appearance and the day was memorable. It had one more surprise in store for me in the form of a real spanish rarity as the ferry docked on the mainland, a second calender Iceland Gull was a total surprise in the outer harbour, loafing on the rocks with local Yellow Legged Gulls!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Highlights; 7th September 2008

Bluethroat (female)

Broad Billed Sandpiper/Dunlin (First calender year birds)

Arctic Skua (First calender year)

Highlights from the past week or so included a stunning juv. Broad Billed Sandpiper, my first in 20 years or so! Striking little wader with a very distinctive kinked bill and boldly marked plumage, hopefully will not have to wait so long for my next one. Also here is a juv. Arctic Skua, a big surprise on Vaxholm where I fish quite often, only had binoculars with me, would of had stunning views had I had a telescope with me.
Bluethroats are always a feature here in September, alway stop me too, wonderful birds, Perhaps the best sketch of the week of this species posted here too...