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, October 02, 2011

Cape Clear; 2nd October 2011


Above and below, a Grey Heron in North Harbour, this shot taken later in the afternoon after the mist had cleared...



Woke early and had a litle breakfast, looked out the window and decided to watch the Ireland v Italy rugby world cup match because of the weather. Appalling conditions for birding, with thick mist and rain, not what the doctor ordered. Headed out at half time, Cotters Garden the first stop. 6 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Song Thrush, 3 Spotted flycatcher and a single female/juvenile type Blackcap were noted here, the conditions were very difficult as can be seen from the photo below...

 Spotted Flycatcher through the mist, really difficult conditions today...

Onwards to the waist were a simular cast were waiting, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock. I took the high road next, a couple of Goldcrest were moving through the bracken, whilst a single Dunlin flew over my head calling. At the lake there was a striking Wheatear, biggish and deeply buff, perhaps a passage greenland bird. At the lake garden there were more of the same, though a nice male Blackcap here was the first of the day, well seen too. By now I was soaked on the outside, happily the rain gear did its job and I was enjoying the morning despite the weather...


 Chiffchaff, a typical view of a bird in the bracken. There's a lot of it on this island...



Above and below; Robin. Things are quiet when you are photographing Robin on Cape Clear. Very common and very tame here, these two shots simply presented themselves. I'm hoping for something very rare with the same attitude at some stage...



Then on to the bogs, where there were some different birds. Four Wheatear were bouncing about the fields over West Bog. Then came Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Chough. Central Bog was lively, though nothing rare, the same bird species again. A Water Rail called from the reedbeds at East Bog, Stonechats were in evidence here. All this time its still raining and the visibility is terrible, I'm thinking theres got to be a good bird somewhere...back on down the low road. There was a good concentration of birds in the Managers Garden, a site with lots of willow and sycamore. Goldcrest and Chiffchaff took time to sort through, though my hopes for something good were dashed. Some more Blackcap were not quite what I had in mind, but they came anyway. Song Thrush were about in small numbers, their calls often the first sign of their presence...

 Song Thrush

At this stage I went back to the observatory for a bite to eat and headed back out. Cotters had nothing new, though at the waist I heard a call I know well, Common Rosefinch. The bird has been present for a couple of days, though I was glad to pick it up nevertheless. Not the most attractive bird in the world to be honest! At South Harbour there were Rock Pipits, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gulls and Hooded Crow. A Pied Flycatcher was better at the youth Hostel garden, where there was another Blackcap. Further up the hill was a juvenile Kestrel, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. The mass track was simular before I headed back the evening now approaching. 6 Swallow over Cotters were the only new birds noted, though I take some encoragement from a scattering of good passerines along the south coast at the minute, surely something good must drop in over the coming days....


 Rock Pipit



Above and below; Pied Flycatcher. Note the rather worn tertials with only thin white fringes, an adult female perhaps...





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