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, September 25, 2011

Birding on Landsort; 26th September 2011

A Sparrowhawk rounds the lighthouse at Sodra Udden. These bird were on the move from first light and on occasion dashed past just overhead...

A full days birding at Landsort starts at dawn and we were up at 5am for breakfast. Coffee was thrown down our throats as we headed for the lighthouse in anticipation. The wind was northwest, good for birds of prey we were assured, the forecast was for a clear day too. Raptors like these conditions. At barely first light a Sparrowhawk blasted past the assembled birders. Redpoll, Brambling, Meadow Pipit and White Wagtails were sudenly overhead calling, all moving south. Then a small group of Siskin, a couple of Kestrel, then a Tree Pipit passed south calling. This really was a class apart...


Sparrowhawks just kept on coming ovr the morning...

This is visible migration at its best, we were in the middle of a strong passage of passerines and raptors, many of which were coming in off the batic sea and flying on to the east. The first White Tailed Eagle of the day drifted in over the sea and perched on the rocks off the point, a blue colour ring on the left leg telling us this bird was eleven years old! Then came a shout, "Harrier" and we latched on to a ringtail moving southeast over the island, a Hen Harrier. A couple of Common Crossbill flew over calling, then a Grey Plover was picked up whilst Red Breasted Mergansers moved south over the sea. A call for a bird of prey revealed a Honey Buzzard, the first of the day, but not the last.
 Some of the sights will not leave me for some time. Four Greater Spotted Woodpeckers high overhead migrating out southeast over the sea was remarkable, I never took these birds as migrants. The sheer numbers of Cormorants moving was phenomenal, how many populate the archipelago here?

Juvenile Kestrel. These birds have had a superb breeding season due to terrific numbers of Lemming to the north this year, the fourth bumper year in a row. This may explain the large numbers at Landsort over the day..

Kestrels kept moving through, the numbers remarked upon by local birders as exceptional. I picked up a female Pintail far out to sea. Sparrowhawk numbers increased steadily, birds streaming past every three or four minutes. I then haerd a call I've not heard in a while, Lapland Bunting, the bird passing over calling for others to hear. The came a harrier out to sea at over a kilometre range, a ringtail low over the water. It struck me as very narrow tailed with a noticably small white rump. Others remarked on the light panels on the upperwings, but the bird could not be surely identified, only suspected of being a Pallid Harrier as it drifted off to the east and not coming closer. Oystercatcher, Brent Goose and more Honey Buzzards followed before a heavy looking bird powered down the centre of the island, a Peregrine Falcon.


Peregrine Falcon, a juvenile bird. Quite rare here in Sweden...

The bird came closer and rounded the lighthouse were we were treated to a superb sight when a Goshawk appeared from nowhere and the two birds showed their mettle in the air above us! It was appreciated in all and was one of the hightlights of the day for me. Cormorant flocks were moving constantly over the island on groups up to 100 strong...


Cormorants, a typical migrating flock...

Cormorant the most obvious species overhead. Meadow Pipit, Siskin and White Wagtail were the predominant passerines. Sparrowhawk continued to the point where eight birds were viewable in the air. A late morning highlight was a group of eight Crane high overhead, trumpeting as they passed over.


Cranes migrating...

The remainder of the day was spent looking for migrants. Lots of Goldcrest about, super abundant on the day. Chiffchaff were aslo noted, three uttering the sparrowlike call I have heard on occasion in Ireland, northern Chiffchaff it seems they were?

 Chiffchaff



 Outside the observatory we were treated to a winderful sight, 3 Rough-legged Buzzard moving up the island, a really memorable site. They were followed four Honey Buzzard! All in all a great days birding, the totals as follows; 3647 Cormorant, 3 Black-throated Diver, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Pintail, 240 Wigeon, 5 Red Breasted Merganser, 1 Brent Goose, 1 Oystercatcher, 3 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover, 8 Golden Plover, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Greater Balck-back Gull, 14 Black Headed Gull, 8 Crane, 254 Sparrowhawk, 27 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Hen Harrier, 1 Unid. Ringtail Harrier, 2 Marsh Harrier, 4 White Tailed Eagle, 5 Common Buzzard, 16 Honey Buzzard, 1 Hobby, 3 Rough-legged Buzzard, 3 Goshawk, 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Lapland Bunting, 22 Redpoll, 52 Siskin, 619 White Wagtail, 560 Meadow Pipit, 9 Tree Pipit, 22 Greenfinch, 18 Redpoll, 63 Chaffinch, 1 Snipe, 12 Tufted Duck, 5 Common Scoter.


Above and below; Goldcrest feeding in pine...


A quite remarkabe day was ended by a quite remarkable sunset, I was tired and slept very well, another mornings birding ahead of me...




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