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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Glaucous Gull, Skansen, March 2010






A couple of biro sketches of a 2nd calender Glaucous Gull, a bird which has been present in stockholm all winter and has led me a merry dance until now. Finally caught up on the bird yesterday at Skansen where it more than obliged me with superb views. Delighted to get something on this lovely bird...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Glaucous Gull; Skansen; 25th March 2010

At close range in the Grey Seal enclosure. The bird attends each afternoon at feeding time, 2pm.


At rest on a nearby building with a Grey Heron for size comparison, a big, thickset gull this...

A classic 2nd calender bird, note the large bill, with demarciated dark tip. Bulky, large gull with a rather deep chest, pale creamy brownish overall appearance. The pale primaries are ovious in these shots....


Again the heavy bill, distinctively marked at the tip. Heavier barring visible here on the undertail covert's...


Another close up shot within the seal enclosure...


Finally, after months chasing this beast about Stockholm, at last some decent photos. News broke last week that the bird had been attending the Grey Seal enclosures at Skansen, where it is availing of the fish handouts at feeding time. Apparently the bird has been turning up like clockwork at 2pm. each day since the new year. The bird was first seen in Stockholm in December of last year, but has proved very mobile during it's stay. Good images of the bird have been hard to get, so I am happy to finally get some shots of the bird.
Attended feeding time today and the bird, a 2nd calender, duly flew in at 13.48 and settled on a nearby building allowing some decent shots. It then made a quick smash and grab raid as the seals were being fed and I manged to get a few close up shots, all in all a bit of a result. A rare bird in Stockholm, the species is more regular on the atlantic west coast of Sweden, Glaucous Gull rarely ventures this far north on the eastern baltic coast....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Skansen; 23rd March 2010

Lynx Portrait. A stunning animal in every way.


Wolverine, the animal active in the winter, and was busily moving around its large enclosure. In the wild these animals range over large territories and are rather social, often travelling in family groups...



Will make my apologies now, but could not resist posting these shots of Lynx and Wolverine, both taken today at Skansen, both animals are captive. Skansen is a wildlife park which displays swedish mammals, the animals are often part of breeding programmes and are kept in lage natural enclosures. The parks most notable success in the past, the contribution made towards the repopulation of Eagle Owl in Sweden, over 50 birds were bred at the park and reintroduced into the wild. The species has since made a remarkable recovery and is even repopulating suburban areas. Most remarkably, a pair has recently begun to breed in the roof of the main stand if the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg.
Both Lynx and Wolverine are endangered in Sweden, both are found in the northern part of the country. In the wild both are rarely seen by humans, the Lynx in particular is incredibly difficult to catch a glimpse of, making population estimates very difficult indeed. A quite breathtakingly beautiful cat...
The actual reason for visiting the park was simple, the stockholm Glaucous Gull has taken to visiting the Grey Seal enclosure at feeding time for a free meal of herring! No show this afternoon, though it was present this morning and fed then. Will return for this bird on Tursday I think...

Red Squirrel; Skansen; 23rd March 2010

The best of the images. Dull, gloomy weather forced the use of flash upon me, which can be seen in the eyes in this shot....


Overrode the flash for this image....

Some images here of a wild Red Squirrel from Skansen today, always a delight to see these lovely mammals. Still widespread here in Sweden, though elsewhere the species is being displaced at an alarming rate by the introduced Grey Squirrel. The decline in Britain and Ireland has been disastrous for the species, where it was once common it is now rare.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Whooper Swan; Tyresö Slott; 22nd March 2010


A single image here of a Whooper Swan I came across todat at Follbrinkstrommen, Tyresö Slott. One of those shots I just fired off without thinking, later viewed it and realized it had a nice quality about it, mainly due to the reflected image and tones....

Dippers; Nyfors; 22nd March 2010






Dipper fieldwork from today at Nyfors, brilliant birds to sketch these. Now displaying as the thaw gets underway in earnest. Photos posted on Blogbirder...

Dippers; Nyfors; 22nd March 2010















A couple of pages of Dipper fieldwork from today at Nyfors, brilliant birds these, now displaying as the thaw gets underway, photos on Blogbirder also...

Dippers; Nyfors; 22nd March 2010












Out to Tyresta National Park today to the waterfalls at Nyfors, an excellent site for Dipper. With four birds present and good light there were some nice shots to be had, the best of which I have posted here. Spent an hour sketching these birds also, two of the birds were males, both were singing and displaying as the thaw begins. Great birds to watch as they feed, disappearing underwater in search of food only to appear a liitle downstream on another rock or branch. Curiously, they can look very auk like, especially when swimming on the surface.
These hardy birds will soon begin nesting, a rather early breeding species. Will no doubt be back in the near future to try get so more photos of these endearing birds...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Dublin; March 2010

Shelduck; Bull Island


Redshank; Bull Island

Purple Sandpipers in flight, 8 birds present at Howth East Pier.


Meditereanean Gul; 3rd cal. Year, a ringed bird from the Lady Island Lake colony in Wexford...


Mediterranean Gull and Black Headed Gulls in foreground...


Mediterranean Gull; Adult in full summer plumage, a cracking bird this...


Curlew, Redshanks.



A selection of field sketches from Dublin over the past week. Great to get back to the Bull Island in particular, nice warm weather, good light and loads of birds to scope! Mediterranean Gulls sketched in Dalkey where three birds were present.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mediterranean Gull; Dalkey; March 2010









A full summer adult bird was more than I had hoped for on the day, it performed for the camera at close range to boot. Delighted with these shots of what is a stunning bird...


My number one target species of the trip. I really wanted some good images of this species and headed for Dalkey, where the species is rarely absent. Bright sunshine greeted me at Bullock harbour where I quickly picked up two 3rd calender birds, though at distance. Waited a while and began feeding bread and was delighted when a bird appeared amongst the Herring and Black Headed Gulls. A superb adult in full summer plumage, more than i had hoped for. It gave itself up in glorious light on the rocks, the images speak for themselves. A really handsome bird this, complete blackish hood, eye crescents and ghostly white wing appearance.
This species now breeds in south east Ireland and has increased in numbers steadily over the years, now a regular bird on the east coast.

Merlin; Bull Island; March 2010

Female Merlin Portrait; What a result...


Sat on a large mound of earth watching for prey....






Sitting on Bull Island you never know what may happen, and this was a real bonus. Merlin is not uncommon at this site, getting one this close is far from common though. Initially I picked the bird up at about 2km rage as it moved from post to post over the saltmarsh to the north of the causeway. It gradually egged closer over the next 45 minutes before it flew directly towards me. It had a go at some Meadow Pipits, failed to catch and continued towards me until it laned 40 metres away on a lrge mound of earth. It then allowed me to approach to wthin 10 mtres and obtain some cracking photos. Thrilled to finally get a set of good images of this species!

Purple Sandpiper's; Howth Harbour; Dublin; March 2010


















One of two species I wanted to get a good image of on this trip to Dublin, Purple Sandpiper. Howth Harbour is a super spot for this species and it did not let me down, eight birds were present along the East Pier. The best of the images posted here, very happy to get them too. The species is found along rocky coasts and piers in winter, often in the company of Turnstone. It is rather scarce in Ireland, though with a little local knowledge usually not hard to find in small numbers...


Redshank; Dublin; March 2010














This series of shots constitute my best photos of this species to date. Taken at Howth Harbour in Dublin during the past week. The species is common in Ireland and gives much better opportunities for decent images as it is often more approachable there than it is in Sweden. This wading species is a very common wintering species in Dublin, arriving in large numbers in late summer and autumn form breeding grounds.