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, March 20, 2009

Sandhamn; 20th March 2009

White Tailed Eagle, a sub adult bird...

Female Black Woodpecker

Crested Tit, about 5 pairs found today on the island.

Male Goosander in flight.

Great Tit, the commonest bird on the island by a very long way...

A full day spent on Sandhamn, an island in the Stockholm Archipelago, caught the ferry in the early hours of the morning. On arrival a check around the village showed lots of Great Tits, Blue Tits and Greenfinches and little else apart from the odd Blackbird, a couple of early Chaffinches and a few Hooded Crow and Magpie loitering in the trees.
Into the interior of the island then, where winter birding as usual is hard, with birds few and far between. First hit was contact with the resident pair of Black Woodpeckers, these birds led me all over the place during the day as we continually crossed paths and I tried to get a decent snap, it would be late in the day before the female obliged the camera from 40 metres! The southern tip of the island produced the first distant White Tailed Eagles of the day. These birds are a big feature of winter birding on the island and I hoped to get a record shot.
Working up the west of the island I then stumbled into the highlight of the day. A bird was seen on the beach, then flying to a pine bough. I wondered about an early Black Redstart, then my first impression led me to think just another Greenfinch. This 'Greenfinch then turn its head and I realized it was a female Parrot Crossbill. It was then joined by a male who proceeded to feed the female before they mated. Another male was then located on the beach eating grit, which these birds ingest as an aid to digesting pine seeds, their staple food. I went for the camera at this stage, and the birds flew off into the woods, when I realized there where in fact four birds in total!
Onwards to the north and centre of the island where the resident Crested Tits where in evidence, five singing males where located easily and some photos of these busy birds had. The rest of the day was spent looking to the sea where commoner species of seaduck were seen, Goldeneye, Goosander, Eider and a single Coot. The Ferry home produced a bonus too, a sub adult White Tailed Eagle swept in behind the boat and I just managed to scramble to the top deck in time to get a record shot. All in all a very nice day with some very good birds....

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