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, September 25, 2009

Atypical Herring Gull; Skeppsbrön; 25th September 2009

A useful shot showing a range of features. In flight the head, back, rump and inner tail appeared very pale and attracted attention to the bird. Tail atypical for a 1st calender Herring, very clean inner tail feathers and rump as on might expect on a Caspian Gull. Also in this shot the pattern on the greater and median covert's appears Caspian like. Note that the pallid appearance of the birds body is not mirrored in the wings, which appear normal in tone.

A decent shot giving a good view of the rather pale underwing. The axilleries pale cream, very delicately barred, not easily seen though without an excellent view. Herring Gull at this age ought to show a much darker underwing...

The left hand side view. A very pale headed bird, the single tertial on this side rather interesting, dark centred and showing a narrow, even pale border. Bill all dark, not especially long, although lack of pronounced gonydeal angle and general shape interesting and could be said to be rather intermediate. Variability in bill length, tone and shape is of course not unusual in itself.

A good shot of the underside in flight. Underwing is strikingly pale on this individual, a characteristic of Caspian Gull. The bird tended to look much more like a Caspian in flight, due pallid body and tail, underwing and upperwing coverts.

Right hand side view. A full set of tertials on this side, rather narrow fringes with brownish centres, rather too light for Caspian Gull. There is a suggestion of notched marking also, indicating Herring Gull. At rest the bird generally appeared round headed and short winged, structure was that one might expect of Herring Gull.

A good view of the hand of the wing in flight. Pale window on inner primaries not as light as other, more typical Herring Gulls in the area, though nevertheless present and noticable in the air...

This bird today at Skepppsbrön, initially picked up on the rooftops before giving better views later on over the water. Initially looked pallid and at times long billed, though after careful observation I am not entirely happy this is just a Herring Gull, rather a very interesting bird exhibiting a number of features more akin to Caspian Gull, which have been discussed above. The bird certainly is at least partially Argentatus Herring Gull, with a very real chance of a second parent of Caspian Gull origin. Comments most welcome on this bird...

No comments: