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 http://www.alandalton.net/
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 alandltn@gmail.com

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blyth's Reed Warbler, Djurgarden, 13th June 2009

Blyth's Reed Warbler. One of two seen today both singing males, this bird giving me tremendous views throughout the morning. A lifer for me and a very welcome addition it was too.

The birds rear often appeared pinched, due to the short primaries mainly. A remarkable singer and mimic...

This shot shows the well defined supercilium and dark loral area rather well, both important features in the identification of this tricky species, easy when the bird is a singing adult, a different proposition in autumn on passage in more diificult conditions...

On occasion could very much recall Chiffchaff, as well as Booted Warbler. Given a brief view in late autumn the identification of this species could well prove a nightmare without good views. The birds call was a great aid to both locating and identifying the bird, a Lesser Whitethroat like "Teck", rather loud and would certainly draw ones attention if given from cover...

Again the ability to recall Booted Warbler or Chifchaff was remarkable when the bird raised its plumage and took on a more rounded form. The upperparts colouration was very much light dependant and in dull light the bird appeared a light sandy brown. In sunlight olive tones were more obvious...

Sang constantly. This birds song was a mix of soundbites borrowed from other species, a wonderful mimic. Within the song I recognized amazingly accurate snatches of the following species songs and calls, Swallow, House Martin, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Wryneck, Goldeneye and Thrush Nightingale!

The bird sang from the reeds whilst I was there, though did prefer to sing from low bushes beside the footpath when left alone. The other bird also displayed a simular habitat preference and sang constantly from the low trees close to the water...

This shot shows the short primary projection quite well, the bunched primaries clearly much, much shorter than the length of the exposed tertials. By far the best feature given a decent view. Note again the apparent change in tone, the bird now appearing a darker brown colour above...

Not the clearest of shots due to the early hour and some foreground foliage, nevertheless a very useful shot showing a range of features. Note the short primary projection and well defined supercilium, the latter noticable over the loral area and extending just beyond the eye....

The so called "banana posture". Quite how these so called features attain any standing with regard to specific identification is a bit of a mystery to me. In three hours of observation the bird appeared to adopt this posture briefly twice! Surely Reed Warbler can manage to contort itself in a simular manner at least as often! In short would certainly recommend concentrating on plumage and structure, should you be lucky enough to come across an unstreaked acro with a Lesser Whitethroat like call....




A really nice morning spent on Djurgarden today, from 05.30am. The news of a singing male Blyth's Reed Warbler came as no surprise when it broke. Though rare around Stockholm a few are located each year at this time when they are in constant song through the evening, night and early morning. News of a second male less than 100 metres away was more exceptional and I made the trip this morning. Remarkably, both these birds are just a stones throw from the city centre, a species I had never seen before today.
Upon arrival both birds were immediatly located, both singing constantly. Watched the original male for a while before deciding to concentrate on the second male which was showing very well in the reeds and offered better views. In the end a very rewarding morning, plenty of photos, sketches and notes obtained on the species, which I would now be happy to tackle on a remote headland back home in Ireland should I ever be fortunate to stumble upon one some october morning....



2 comments:

Harry said...

Hi Alan,
A very useful series of pics of Blyth's Reed Warbler! Despite having travelled to see the then first Irish record of this species (in October 2007, until the shots taken of a bird on Cape Clear in 2006 came to light in 2008), and having obtained decent-ish views, I certainly could do with some more experience of the species before I could claim to feel 'comfortable' with them...that said, I do know what to look (and listen) for, as do many other birders at this stage, so, like so many species here in Ireland, we may get some more rather quickly after the first twitchable records...

Alan Dalton said...

Might well prove to be the case Harry, records of this species have increased hugely in Englanf/Scotland over the peast few years, I'm sure it's down to observer awareness rather than a genuine increase in vagrant birds. The call is certainly a key to this species, after that the primary projection followed by all the other features. Irish records are also blighted by the scarcity of Reed Warbler and the extreme rarity of Marsh Warbler, experience of these species and their calls also a key to ID of Blyth's. Expect a few in the next three autumns nonetheless....
See you on Cape in August for Fea's then....