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

Monday, October 03, 2011

Cape Clear ; 3rd October 2011

 Reed Warbler. Spent the day chasing Acro's around Cotter's Garden, a frustrating excercise-this bird in the afternoon was calling with a more familiar rattling'trrrrrr' I would expect from Reed Warbler. The earlier Acro was colder toned than this bird and callled constantly, a single note, a tongue clicking 'teck'.

Arrived at Cotters at 0715am, birds were about and activity was high. Goldcrests buzzed, Chiffchaff were up in numbers and I had a calling Lesser Whitethroat at the top of the garden. Almost immediatly Steve wing picked up an unsreaked Acro warbler with a short primary projection. I joined him straight away, not getting on the bird but hearing it call, a new call for me, a soft, tongue clicking 'Teck'. It continued to call from cover and proceeded to skulk around the garden 'teck' calling constantly. Eventually I had a brief view in the binoculars and was stuck by three things 1. A a rather colourless overall upperpart tone.2. The primary projection looked rather short. 3. The remarkably clean looking underparts. Could it be a Blyth's Reed? The bird was not helping and it stopped calling and went off the radar for a while after about 10.30am, with only two brief views given in all that time. I went to the Waist where the Common Rosefinch was again present. Then on to the Youth hostel where the Pied flycatcher was still about with a handful of Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. I returned the way I came and popped into Cotters.
  By now the light had improved and Steve Wing had got the mist nets up. I watched from the left side from a height from a while and had a male Blackcap feeding in the trees over the garden before another bird caught my eye in the bracken. I got the bins on it straight away and was delighted to find a juvenile Barred Warbler! The bird was in view only briefly before flying a shot distance and dissapearing into cover, good views of the tail in flight as it did so. I enjoyed good views of Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler(where was that hiding!), Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. The Garden Warbler had been seen earlier by us both, I had gotten a shot though was glad to get this bird in the hand. Brian Haslam then arrived on the island and was interested in the mornings Acro.
 We did get a view of an Acro, the bird photographed above, this one was in the fushia in the centre of the garden. It drew attention by calling, though with a rattling 'trrrr' and not the call from this morning. Eventually I got some images of the bird which seemed to have a warm rump, akin to Reed Warbler, longish primary projection and wrong tones, surely a different bird to the mornings. This bird, or another, was later trapped and confirmed as Reed Warbler. Later in the afternoon the 'Teck' call was again heard, though the bird not seen. In the end it was decided to leave it until tomorrow and try and trap the calling bird due to its skulking nature.

 Garden Warbler

Moved on eventually after a bit of lunch and hit Ballyeiragh. The managers garden held some Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. The bogs were quiet, which was a little suprising given the activity in Cotters. I checked the Wheatear Field and Firbreaga, Chough, Wheatear and a few Meadow Pipit were scant reward for the hard going over rough ground and hills. Back at Olly Gully there were 3 Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff, the gardens were quiet though. The lake held 8 Little Grebes and I watched them for a while as I have not seen these little birds in about two years! A yeartick and a rarity in Sweden where I live..Bavk to cotters on the way home at dusk, a Sparrowhawk the best, an adult female. An interesting day with some good birds, there seems to be a few bits and pieces around, will be back out first thing in the morning....
 The west side of Ballyeiragh, a stunning place..

Above and below; Chough feeding around this area on the clifftops with eight birds present...

One last shot...

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