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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Landsort; 26th-27th August 2011



A much anticipated visit to Landsort, a site which really is rather special and certainly my favourite place to birdwatch in within a couple of hundred miles of Stockholm. The potential for rarities is staggering, one only has to look at one of this sites previous rarities, Pale-legged Warbler, to realise that almost any potential eastern mega could turn up here. The island is underwatched with just a handful of birders visiting the island. Far from being a site with just passerine interest the island has quite phenomenal seawatching, involving a range of species, with massive movements of seaducks perhaps the highlight, though divers, grebes, skuas, terns and waders also feature. Add to this autumn raptor passage as well as breeding birds which included Barred Warbler and Greenish Warbler this yaer and little else need be said. We arrrived at noon on Saturday, there was news of the mornings birding. A Red-rumped Swallow had been seen migrating southwest past the lighthouse and a dead Dotterel had been picked up there too! I was with John Costello and we dropped our gear in at the bird observatory before heading straight out to birdwatch. We quickly came across a butterfly specis new to me, Oeneis jutta, or Baltic Grayling. The weather was quite stunning and we were both sweltering in the heat...


 Baltic Grayling(Oeneis jutta), a new species for me straight away...

Birdwise things were rather quiet, migration here is concentrated early in the morning and by now visible movement had ceased. As with all islands, birding here is very much weather dependendant and fall conditions are need for the island to hold migrants all day. By now the weather was bright and sunny, with a strong, gusty and increasing souhwesterly.We worked hard for a couple of Lesser Whitethroat before moving on to Bredmar. ..

 Bredmar, situated on the west side of this small island, a good site that often hold waders and passerines.

At Bredmar we picked up two Sparrowhawk the second of which was high up and proceeded to head southwest over the baltic. Then a couple of Red-backed Shrike were seen, both immature birds, this species is now begining to move in numbers. Then another bird overhead, amazingly a Cuckoo actively migrating, the first time I have ever seen this species actually doing so. The bird was an adult and was mobbed by Swallows, many of which were seen to stream south over the island during the day...


 Common Gull, a 1st calender bird over Vaderbunkeren...

Evetually we made our way back to Vaderbunkeren to do an evening seawatch. With the sunny, hot weather it seemed litle was moving apart from a few gulls and we decided after an hour our time was better spent looking for passerines..


 Great Black-backed Gull; again a first calender bird here...

We headed for Fyren, the islands lighthouse at the southern tip of the island and carefully checked the gardens there. The amount of foliage at this time of year makes things difficult, there is a lot of it on this island, perhaps its only major drawback with regard to it's rarity potential. After nothing of real note we worked our way backed past the shallets, a few phyllosc warblers the only migrants. At the main village, Storahamn, we looked up to see more Swallow, these birds feeding in the evening sun along with a larger bird which drew by full attention! As soon as I got the binoculars on it I knew what it was, a NIGHTJAR! It fed over us briefly, though at the same time giving us incredible views . The bird was feeding in bright, evening sunshine, far from an everyday occurance. A very good record for the island, these birds are very rare on passage in autumn, this was in fact only my third ever NIGHTJAR. Even better, it was a lifer for John and we were well chuffed with ourselves. Nice to find a rarity, the first in a while. The bird dissapeared to the north and we went after it only to hear a familiar wader call, moments later three Greenshank passed southwest overhead. A minute later another waderlike call though this one was familiar to me and certainly not a shorebird, rather it was the contact call of juvenile Caspian Tern. We looked up to see two birds, a first calender and an adult moving southwest, a good bird on the island. A while later I had a brief view of the NIGHTJAR again moving south, after which time we did not see it again. A superb evenings birding...


 Sunset on Landsort.

An early night followed in order to get up early at 4am. We made our way to the lighthouse before sunrise, the weather though had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. Nevertheless, the lighthouse was as always impressive. A check at its base revealed a casualty, a Lesser Whitethroat, the bird hitting the light at night and expiring.


 Landsort Fyren; The islands lighthouse...




 Another shot of Landsort Fyren, always an impressive sight early in the morning...

We quickly realized the strong, gusting wind and light rain had put a stop to passerine migration, we had hoped for Yellow Wagtails, Tree Pipits and other early migrants to be streaming overhead, so we were a little dissapointed. We set up the scopes and began a seawatch on which the follwing were seen; 4 Lesser Black-Backed Gull, 5 Dunlin, 22 Black Headed Gull, 48 Common/Arctic Tern, 3 Ringed Plover,   1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 SANDWICH TERN, 102 Common Scoter, 21 Wigeon and 14 Teal. The Sandwich Tern is notable as it was my first in Sweden, another rarity, far from common in this part of the world.The weather deteriorated throughout the watch and we gave up around eight to look for passerines. The lighthouse garden held a Pied Flyatcher and Lesser Whitethroats. The village was checked too, a couple ofe Whinchats were nice, as well as a Wheatear. Around the ringing area beside the observatory another Whinchat was seen, along with 5 Spotted Flycatchers. It was hard work though and when the weather inproved and nothing came out to feed in the sunshine we decided the strong wind was perhaps better for eawatching. At Vaderbunkaren it proved slow, thought birds were passing for a while and we saw the following there; 18 Common/Arctic Tern, 29 Common Scoter, 2 Dunlin, 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 Ringed Plover and 10 Grey Plover. Previously I have only seen single Grey Plover and ten birds was a good record. The passage then suddenly stopped. The weather continued to be good. The return ferry produced A White-tailed Eagle and a nice Osprey perched in a pine tree fishing. A wonderful trip this, I shall be back....


 Scopes looking out over the Baltic Sea...




 Above and below, at times today a nice broken sky saw me make these images. A glorious afternoon had followed a very rough, thundery morning...





The island ferry making its way back to pick us up...


For those interested a link here to Landsort Bird Observatory;
http://www.landsort.com/birds/

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