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

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Arctic Terns; Breeding Colony at Vasterhamn; Landsort

A male bird tries to impress a female with a freshly caught fish, which were generally still alive on return, the birds obviously not having to go far to find food...


 A bird sails down from a height to alight beside it's mate, incredibly graceful birds these...




 The birds were still in the process of finding mates and there was a lot a fascinating behaviour to watch. Males tried to impress females with their catches, females accepted of refuse and other males occasionally sought to steal others food in mid air...




 A bird in evening light, slightly backlit and showing the light through its transluscent primaries, a distinguishing feature from the very simular Common Tern, which has opaque primaries when backlit...




 We found this bird resting ar Saltmar, the light was dull and a slow exposure needed, giving a nice effect as the bird shakes after preening...




 A hovering bird, took me a while to get this shot with the tail spread, a classic pose for this species...




 Beautiful as they are on the ground they are utterly stunning in the air...




And one more in flight shot against a blue sky...




















Above are sound recordings made at the colony on 5th May in the early evening, the sounds of a species I very much wanted to record.


On the west side of the island the main harbour holds a small colony of Arctic Terns. The birds can be viewed at close range and several times John Costello and I were drawn back to watch and photograph these engageing birds. The species is doing well here and there was certainly no shortage of small fish in the area for the birds to feed on. Recently returned from their winter quarters these are perhaps one of the most remarkable of migrants, covering incredible distances every year.

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