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

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Cape Clear Island; 1st October 2011

Spotted Flycatcher; The bird present in Cotters Garden.

A day of travel. Caught the train from Dublin's Heuston Station, conditions were horendous on the way with much flooding due to torrential rain. Arrived in Cork city just before 11am. and then cught two connecting buses and finally, the ferry to Cape Clear. The ferry journey was enjoyable and I noted my first Gannets and Shags of the year! Guillemot followed before a real surprise in the form of a juvenile Sabines Gull sitting on the sea! The bird remained on the water as we passed it and I had a nice view through the binoculars...
  I stepped onto the island just before 3pm. and was greeted by Steve Wing and Mary on the pier. I dropped my gear, bought a few supplies in the shop as it closes Sunday and headed out into the rain. The weather was appalling, though eventually the rain became lighter. Cotters Garden was the first port of call, here I found a Spotted Flycatcher hawking from the trees. 15 Goldcrest, 4 Chiffchaff and a single Willow Warbler were also seen here long with a glut of Robin, Dunnocks and Wrens. The Waist, like Cotters Garden, looks fantastic habitat wise. Here there were Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and a pair of Chaffinch. This general area looks like it will attract and hold birds in the coming weeks. Onwards to the Youth Hostel, a careful look around produced 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Goldcrest and best of all, a Pied Flycatcher. Further up the hill at the Post Office I had yet more Goldcrest and a brace of Chiffchaff. Overhead Meadow Pipit were moving through the mist. I retraced my steps, a couple of Rock Pipit were feeding on the beach at South Harbour. Cotter's Garden was busier on the way back, perhaps birds arriving late, a female Blackcap was a nice bonus. No sign of a Common Rosefinch over the evening, perhaps in the morning. Tonights weather will not see any migrants moving, hopefully the rain will clear and allow some drawing and photos tomorrow...


Mike Woodcock said...

The rain had better clear; I want to see the drawings!

Torben said...

Hi Alan,

Sorry to hear about the appalling weather but a wee bit of compensation must be all the species you have seen so far, including a juv. Sabine Gull !

No matter what the weather might bring – enjoy your stay.