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

Monday, March 26, 2012

Birding at Hjälstaviken; 25th March 2012

 Pink Footed Geese with a single Bean Goose. These would be seen right at the end of the day after much searching for them, flying past Lingbokullen three times in the end. A full account of the days birding below...
  Note the small stubby bill on these Pink Footed Geese, which is largely dark in appearance. The upperwing is bluish toned grey, quite different from Bean Goose in this instance. The head is rounded and the neck looks short, as well as being small and compact. Then of course there are the pink feet...



Hjälstaviken the venue on a clear day, the light excellent on the day. I met with John Costello and we set out from the south end of the wetland, checking the reedbeds first. The wind proved stronger than we thought and was very chilly, coming from the northeast. Nevertheless there were birds straight away, Greylag Geese were along the road, whilst a Common Buzzard drifted north. Chaffinch were noticable, a recent arrival rom the south. A few Skylark sang overhead, whilst a couple of Common Crossbill were better, flying past calling. Black-headed Gulls were moving, as we approached the reedbeds the first Reed Bunting flicked across the walkway, shower white outertail feathers in typical fashion. Then another couple of yearticks, a Linnet flew past, calling as it went, whilst 3 Teal were on the water to the south. New birds for 2012 kept coming, the first calls of Common Crane came across the lake, a flock of Cormorant flew south. Birds were more numerous than the last visit, then a familiar dark shape above..


 Above and below; Adult White Tailed Eagle, the bird gave stunning views as it floated over our heads, followed by a second! Hjälstaviken is quite simply a superb site for the species...



The reedbeds produced no Bearded Tit, we moved onwards to the south, a Stock Dove flew past, the first of several birds to do so. Woodpigeon were also moving and several flocks were noted. A bit further on a Mistle Thrush flew past us and gave a good view before we approached the observation tower, fields full of Greylag Goose awaited. First though we had a look from the tower to secure a few more new birds for the calender year, Wigeon were present, at least a dozen. A Meadow Pipit flew over calling somewhere around this point, while a Great Crested Grebe was picked out on the open water. Pintail proved frustating as we thought we had a male in cover, though in the end we left it to look through the geese at the site. Greylag were everywhere, small numbers of Canada Geese also grazed the fields around the track. It didnt take long to locate 5 Eurasian White Fronted Geese, though the birds flew after a short time. Small numbers of Taiga Bean Goose where then picked up, then more White Fronted, very nice birding this. A pair of Gadwall dropped in, whilst a small flock of Barnacle Goose did the same. We decided to place ourselves of the birds flightpath, between the fields and the water. Soon this paid off as small groups of Greylag began to fly past, giving some great oppotunities for in flight shots in quite superb light...


 A pair of Greylag, note the pale grey upper forewing, the pale appearance overall and the large orange bill on these birds. In addition the call is quite distinctive..




 A lone Greylag Goose in the sunshine...




 Greylag trio over our heads..




 A couple of Greylags head towards the fields to feed..


It was very nice to have such a nice day, with good light. The birds streamed over and it wasn't long until Eurasian White Fronted Geese also began to fly over and give us some cracking views. Their call was most distinctive and easily picked out when the birds took to the air, giving us ample warning the get the cameras ready. Through the scope I located 29 birds in all, they flew to and fro and gave us every chance to get a few shots. Also above us where Bean Geese, about 90 of which were present..


 Half and half! Eurasian White fronted Geese with Greylags overhead. The markings on the belly of the White Fronts most useful feature from below, the call also being very easy to pick out..




 Above and below; Bean Geese were also very much in evidence, note the dark bil with orange tone, orange legs and dark appearance in this shot. Rather large geese these, long necked, with flattened head profiles..





Despite careful searching, there were no Pink Footed Geese  that we could see. Such were the photo opportunities though, we stayed on for a couple of hours before moving on the Lingbokullen were 3 Common Buzzard were actively displaying overhead....

 Common Buzzard, a typical individual this...




 Also today were at least 100 Lapwing, flighty and at times distant. This one flew past as we waited for geese..


 Eurasian White Fronted Geese offered such good shots that we stayed on to photograph them getting our best shots of the species to date..






 Here the white around the base of the bill from which the spcies gets its name can be clearly seen..


 Above and below; More images of Eurasian White fronted Geese, they just kept coming..



Onwards then to Lingbokullen where we spent the late afternnon. There were few geese on the ground here suprisingly, though there was a steady stream of birds flying northwest to the fields. Most were Bean and we had amazing views, the odd White Front livening things up, whilst a trickle of Greylag passed throughout. Cranes were in evidence here all day and we a lovely bird do a solo flyby. Then I picked up two geese which struck as quite pale on the upperwing, short necked and dark billed. I shouted to John immediately, finally, we had Pink Footed Goose in front of the camera! John was very happy having missed one on the previous visit. We had great views as they flew to the fields first, then back to the lake, before returning with Bean Geese again! We had lovely views of displaying Common Buzzard high overhead throughout, before we left to get home. A great days birding in any book...


Above and Below; A Common Crane overhead at Lingbokullen...



No comments: