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, May 14, 2012

Hjälstaviken; 14th May 2012; An evening with Hobbies and a lifer...





















Arrived in mid afternoon at Hjälstaviken, first port of call was Ekolsund Slott where I had simply stunning views of two Great Grey Owls at almost point blank range at times, the photos above here in time. After that it was down to Stora Parnassen where I settled down on a rock overlooking the wetland. Almost immediately I had a pair of Garganey in front of me, then a falcon came in of the marsh towards me, a superb Hobby, which perched in a tree beside me. It stayed with me for quite a while and I had amazing views of this dapper bird as it rested in the light rain. A pair of Marsh Harrier, then an adult Little Gull out over some open water. Wood Sandpipers were everywhere, their calls filling the air. Eventually I made my way to WWF Spängen, across the walkway through the reedbeds, where Reed Warblers were in full song. A while later I had the Savi's Warbler reeling in the reeds in front of me! The rain stopped and I was able to set up the Telinga parabol and get a nice recording of the singing Savi's, then backtracking to record Reed Warblers. I then made my way to a blackthorn bush where my first Thrush Nightingale of the year was belting out the decibels, also recorded. After that it was Hobbies. Four birds were feeding in the shelter of the hillside behing me, jusy over the reedbed hawking insects. I spent an hour watching them feed, a quite incredible sight. I wandered back towards the walkway and from behind me came a bird of prey, a harrier. I got the binoculars onto it and the first thing I took in where four fingered primaries, a neat gorget of streaks and a rather long, narrow tail. The bird then turned and I got the head pattern, a noticable boa and dark inner secondaries. I realised I was watching my first Pallid Harrier, an adult female. Rather than grab the camera I enjoyed my first view of the species, taking in the small, tidy postage stamp white rump. This was at 7.32pm, I was to have a second view at 8.30pm as the bird reappeared and I got a better view of the upperparts, which had a broad light area of sandy brown on the covert's. The vent was clean and unstreaked and the dark secondaries on the underwing emphasized the barred primaries on the underwing. This bird had been reported in the morning at the other end of the reserve and I really had not expected it to stay around, yet here I was watching it go to roost in the reeds. Memorable.
 It then began to rain, a little too heavily, I had to pack down the parabol. I began to get wet and was forced to abandon plans to sit out into darkness and listen for Great Snipe and Spotted Crake. I may have to return on Wednesday...

Recordings made today here...
















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