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

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Yellow-legged Gull; Skeppsbron; 2nd August 2011

 On arrival I found the bird basking in the sun, the best opportunity I've had to date to get good quality shots. The dark facial mask is very noticable in this photo of the bird. This feature, coupled with the whitish head, tertial pattern and bill shape and colour made the bird fairly easy to pick out with care. More young Argentatus are appearing every day, including a few birds which show certain features which could cause confusion, most notably solidly dark centred tertials and heavy bills...

 The bird came to bread and really allowed some excellent reference shots to be taken. Note the structural details  in this shot. The primaries are noticably long and extend well beyond the tip of the tail at rest. The tertials are solidly centred blackish brown with pale, narrow fringing evident at the tips and extending a short distance back along the sides of the feathers. The two innermost greater covert's are solidly dark centred with complete narrow pale fringes. Wear is apparent on the wing covert's, the legs are longish. The bill is fairly long, parallel sided and deepest at the base. The head, as mentioned previously, appears quite pale with a dark area surrounding the eye, giving a masked effect, which often gives the bird a fiercer impression in direct comparison with Argentatus Herring Gull.

 The bird in flight. Note the striking tail pattern. The tailband is solidly dark, narrowest at the sides. The tips of the tail are white, forming a narrow band. The inner tail markings are relatively sparse, spotted and of a solid nature, giving a cleaner, whiter impression. The inner outertail feathers are clean white. Note the reddish tones on the mantle. The inner primaries appear quite dark in this shot, in marked contrast to Argentatus of the same age. The greater coverts are increasingly darker towards their outer extremities.

 The bird at rest on the water. A good view of the bill in profile here. Again the whitish head and dark mask, reddish tones on the mantle and tertial pattern all on view..

 The bird calling on several occasions today, distincly different in voice to Argentatus, and actually rather like Lesser Black-backed Gull in this regard. In bright sunshine the bird appeared very pale on the head and breast due to  the light....

 Again in flight, this time the wing is fully outstretched, revealing the paler prey inner webs on the inner primaries. The reddish tones again apparent on mantle and scapulars. The inner scondaries are rather dark. In many ways the bird recalled juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull in flight, rather than Argentatus Herring Gull.

 A close up of the head, not pin sharp but still useful.Note the depth of the bill at the base, the parallel sided appearance without any noticable gonydeal bulge and solidly black toned appearance..

One last shot on the deck, the bird right in front of me awaiting food. Hopefully this bird will have a prolonged stay at the site and allow further details to be observed, such as moult...

Shots here of the Yellow-legged Gull from today, the bird really performing for the camera and allowing detailed views over a couple of hours.

Video footage of the bird here;


Anonymous said...

Very nice series of photos! Interesting captions! I hope the bird will stay a few weeks in Stockholm! :-) Dirk VG

Alan Dalton said...

Hi Dirk,
Nice to hear from you, figured you were back in Sweden, have noticed your photos on Svalan. This bird has been around for ten days, looks like it could well stay sometime as there is plenty of food in the area, though impossible to say.
Plenty off gulls onsite to see already, look forward to seeing you there.