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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

30 M Kärret; Norra Järvafltet; 31st August 2011

 Spotted Flycatcher

Norra Järvafältet is a large rural park in the central northern suburbs of Stockholm, it is large and managed by traditional means. Livestock, copsing and traditional farming methods are put into practice at the site. It is a rich environment and provides excellent habitat for birds. It's size means it forms a green coridor down the centre of northern Stockholm, which has the effect of funneling migrating birds and 30 M Kärret is the prime site to view this spectacle. I arrived just after 8am today under blue skies and warm autumn sunshine.
 Immediatly on arrival I was informed by local birders that the first Bluethroat of the autumn had been found and I made my way to the bridge where it was seen last. Almost straight away it was calling back to a tape of the species song, it then proceeded to perch in the open where I had a stunning view through the scope before it dived into cover. A very nice start to any mornings birding...
 Other birds were soon to be seen. A Sedge Warbler worked along a bank of vegetation, whilst a Garden Warbler made a typically brief appearance. Reed Buntings and Red Backed Shrikes were more obvious, the latter busily feeding on passing insects. A couple of Whinchats worked the fields, whilst a quietly 'chacking' bird eventually proved to be a Reed Warbler as suspected. A couple of Spotted Flycatcher were also welcome, one bird preening and allowing a shot or two to be taken.
 At about 9.30am I moved and settled into the main watchpoint with a small gallery of eight or nine birder's. Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail were first into the notebook, migrating birds flying over calling. A couple of Common Buzzards followed, an Osprey fished over the lake to the northwest, Sabysjön. Next up was a Hobby, this one feeding high up in the air on insects. As we atched a raptor crossed its path, a buzzard species, but which one? We watched as it moved south, small headed and long tailed, rather uniformly dark on the undercarriage, a nice juvenile Honey Buzzard. This was the species I had come here to see today. It passed high overhead and I reeled off a few frames for reference. The final tally would be five of these wonderful birds, it was nice to get prolonged views of one bird as it tumbled downwards on several occasions and stayed in view for five minutes. Then to the left I picked up a pair of accipters, I called them as Goshawks and watched as they mock fought in the air, an adult pair. The views were good through the scope and I enjoyed the show, though better was to follow..
 A pair of Hobby now appeared, one bird peeling off and procceded to hunt Swallows high overhead, a really breathtaking aerial display which took the breath away. The bird failed to catch and I got the distinct impression that this bird, a juvenile, was in fact almost playing and practising its flight skills on the hirundines. Two more Goshawks passed overhead, this time juveniles. More Common Buzzard were logged moving south, as were a pair of Osprey. A Kestrel flew west and Sparrowhawks were also on the move, a quite amazing morning for raptors in particular.

Record shots of the first Honey Buzzard to pass, a juvenile. Note the small headed appearance, longish tail and rather uniformly dark undercarriage. With practice a fairly easy bird to seperate from Common Buzzard given reasonable views...

The following are the final tallies from my notebook...
14 Common Buzzard, 5 Honey Buzzard, 3 Sparrowhawk, 4 Goshawk, 1 Kestrel, 2 Hobby, 2 Raven, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Whinchat, 1 Bluethroat, 4 Red Backed Shrike, 5 Reed Bunting, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 19 Cormorant, 9 Greylag Goose, 1 Black Woodpecker, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Green Woodpecker.

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