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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Landsort; 29th October 2009

Landsort lighthouse on approach from the Ferry, always a welcome sight....

Waxwing. A lone bird found on a wind stunted Rowan proved a superb subject for photos, the following portraits the best of the shots taken....





The extent of the yellow on the primaries helps age this bird as a first year male....



Goshawk, a 1st Calender Year bird blasting through on passage....

Brent Goose, race Bernicla; 2nd Calender year bird.

Landsort Lighthouse from the south..



A full day on Landsort today, up early at a mind boggling 4am.! Had sensibly got to bed two hours previously after a late night DVD fest, as you do. Slept almost all of the way to the island before the ferry finally belched me upon the pier and the birding began.
This island always produces some thing of interest and straight away a rather loud Crested Tit high over head?, what the?, that snapped me out of sleep and I latched onto the culprit, a super male Snow Bunting low overhead flying around the lighthouse. Then came Brambling, Mealy Redpolls, Goldfinch, a small group of Parrot Crossbills, Meadow Pipit, 3 Twite and a stream of Siskin, all moving north. A highlight then came in the form a Grey Wagtail, a rarity in these parts, which flew around the south tip of the island for some time calling constantly. Then a few Sparrowhawk zipped past before a stonking juv. Goshawk powered past just to the west. A search of the areas of cover produced little except for a lone Waxwing which proved vey photogenic...
Back toward the north end after a couple of hours, a probable tristus Chiffchaff was briefly seen and heard to call once after a shortway. More Parrot Crossbills were noted over the next while, along with a handful of Commons. Then a highlight as a Bearded Tit juvenile exploded into call as it flew from one area of reed to another, ging me a great flight view through the bins in the process, great stuff, not seen to many Bearded Tit in the past! Further north and more Parrot Crossbills moving, Bullfinches numerous to with at least 20 noted. At the north end found a group of birders and learned a Two Barred Crossbill had been seen just before 8am! Feck! Stayed at the north tip a while, though passage dropped off at noon to almost nothing. A small flock of Cranes were enjoyed on the way back to the south, as was a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, not a bad bird on this coastline. Spent the afternoon flogging the south part of the island, flushing the male Snow Bunting againg three times, with little else to show for exhaustive searching, barring a Black Guillemot. Caught the ferry at dusk and went back to sleep. Great Day!




Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Black and Whites; October 2009

Grey Herons

Chough

Yet more ink drawing now completed, the most recent two scanned and posted above, again done on paper with felt tipped technical pens of various sizes..

Black and Whites; October 2009

Bluethroat; 1st Calender in Autumn; Felt-tipped technical Pen.

Adult Tree Sparrow; Felt-tipped Technical Pen.

Now working on a series of Black and White illustrations for an up and coming publication back in Ireland, a couple here. Both with fine felt tip technical drawing pens...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Stonechat on Fuschia; 7th October 2009


Finished Painting; Stonechat on Fuschia; (18"x14")

The major elements quickly blocked in on this piece...

Early stages, simple blue background tone blocked in, cutout sketch seen here helps me with composition, so easy to just move it around until it's right, then draw into the picture....

Stonchat on Fuschia; Acrylic on Board; 18"x14"
The latest here again, a rather small acrylic of a Stonechat, this one from a sketch done on Cape Clear Island in August...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Autumn Tree Sparrows; Collage

The finished painting, shot in good light...

Darks added in the background to create depth, branches rendered...

Coloured tissue the main addition here for the leaves...

Early stages, paint plastered on!


Autumn Tree Sparrows; Collage; 18"x14".
Coloured Crepe Paper, Tissue paper and Acrylic Paint. Latest colour piece....

Friday, October 02, 2009

Latest Sketches; September 2009

Tree Sparrow; Graphite Stick

Jay collecting acorns; Angarn.

Reed Bunting in thistle...


Reed Buntings..

A few more recent sketches here from the past couple of weeks, will be working on some collage Tree Sparrows soon, watch this space...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

White Tailed Eagle; Angarn; 1st October 2009

A superb sight, fit to grace any day out birding, White Tailed Eagle...

Like a flying door. The bird floated right over my head in slow cicles before drifting off.


The dark tips on the tail feathers help age this bird as a sub adult bird, perhaps in it's 4th calender year...

The wings pinched in as the bird turns in the air. The wings and primary feathers are remarkably pliable and help the bird to take full advantage of rising thermals.

Nice to see a bird with a full set of primaries, often these birds are moulting.


My best photos to date of this hugely impressive raptor, the White Tailed Eagle. These birds are enormous, though generally they are seen at distance and often at great height. This bird floated over my head today, causing absolute pandemonium on the reserve as 500 Greylag Geese took to the sky in panic, the air filled with their agitated calls. This bird is not uncommon now around Stockholm after a major recovery in Sweden over the past 25 years, great to have these birds in the skies overhead...
Other species noted today included Common Crossbil, Hen Harrier, Goshawk and Black Woodpecker. Good numbers of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Thrushes and Woodpigeon noted overhead also.


Atypical Herring Gull; Skeppsbrön; 1st October 2009

Underside in flight; general tone very pale for a first winter Argentatus Herring gull, also note very pale underwing and the tail pattern.


Flight shot; the bird looking rather long billed here, pale inner primary panel clearly visible in this shot.

On the deck, the light a little cold in this shot. Greater covert's rather well marked, not very uniformly notched,, In general the covert's not right for Caspain Gull and not extensively dark centred as one might expect of that species. Again, pale head and breast drew attention to the bird..

Shot of the upperparts in flight, not pin sharp but useful nonetheless. Head, back, rump and innertail all very pale for an Argentatus of this age. Good view of the uppertail here, rather clean innertail quite unusual...


Squabbling for handouts and showing the upperwings...


Another shot of the upperparts in flight...


And again the upperwing, pale inner primary window.

Best shot of the bird at rest on land. Structurally looks fine for Argentatus Herring Gull, though the bill could look alarmingly long at times, when the bird depressed the feathers of the head. Mantle, scapulars and coverts all look fine to my eye for Herring Gull. Tertials rather extensively dark centred for a Herring Gull, though are still rather brownish toned.


Again at Skeppsbrön today in the evening, again another pallid Herring Gull. Initialy I did'nt think this was same individual photographed last week as that bird looked like it was missing tertials on one side. Closer inspection of the earlier photos reveals that bird had indeed a full set of tertials, albeit a little mangled and pushed upward! So the same bird here, tertials sorted out. Again structurally looked like Herring Gull on the deck, but pallid features, longish bill, extensive dark centres to the tertials drew my attention.



Ringed Herring Gull, Skeppsbron; 1st October 2009


This bird today at Skeppsbrön, a ringed bird that has been around for some time. Got a decent photo today, the colour ring clearly reads C85HS. Would be interesting to find out where this 3rd Calender bird was ringed...

RINGING DATA; Kindly sent to me by the Finnish Natural History Museaum...

Ring No; HT265593
Ringing Date; 14th June 2007 as Pulli in the nest.
Location; Kustavi; Turku-Pori; FINLAND.
Ringer; Pekka Alho