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

Landsort; 7th May 2012

The last day on the island and I went to Sodra Udden with Gunnar Granström, whilst Bo Holst and Stefan Bengtson elcted for Norrudden. I arrived at 04.20am and things were slow at sea. There was a trickle of birds however and the occasional duck flock to keep interest as well as a good passage of Comic Tern. Offshore, on small skerries, 4 or 5 White Tailed Eagles rested. An early high light came in the form of a flock of 7 Whimbrel quite close inshore, calling as they flew west. Arctic Skua were in evidence, every now and thne a bird was picked up low over the sea. After some time I was scanning over the horizon when I picked up a small falcon and soon we had nice views of a female type Merlin, nice birding and my first of 2012. Shortly afterwards I picked up a bird well out to sea and its manner of flight stopped me. As it came closer it's identity became clear, a Short-eared Owl! It was mobbed by gulls constantly before moving up to to west and dissapearing into the sun. A short while later Gunnar picked up a second, and later a third bird coming in off the sea. Raxorbilll, Common Scote and Velvet Scoter all featured at sea, whilst overhead 2 Brambling and Tree Pipits were heard. Then at 06.35 Gunnar exclaimed 'Skarflacka', swedish for Avocet! I immediatly got onto ot and the view through the scope revealed not one, but two Avocets moving east out to sea, the markings and long legs clearly visible. A rare bird this far north and well worth the effort. We wrapped it up at 08.30am when passage all but stopped, the following logged;

2 Avocet, 12 Whimbrel, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Merlin, 3 Short-ered Owl, 8 Tree Pipit, 2 Brambling, 132 auk Sp., 7 Arctic Skua, 104 Velvet Scoter, 181 CommonScoter, 672 Commic Tern, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Black Guillemot, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Wood Sandpiper.

Back to the observatory, noting a Redstart, a few Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat on the way. I cleaned mt room and packed before setting off north, the same common migrants as in previous days. Then half way along the island 6 Crane flew past, moving south. At Saltmar a couple of Slavonian Grebe were new out to sea. At Farhagen a brief view of Wryneck, perhaps the same bird seen in previous days. Then at Norrudden I seached for the Stller's Eider, without joy. I then hid under a jetty again and had stunning views of mating Slavonian Grebes not six metres for the camera lens! Then another Wryneck, this one singing. I caught up with Bo and Stefan who informed me they had a Gyr Falcon earlier in the morning, the bird coming from the notrh like a tornado, circling the tern and gull colony and blasting off to the west. Crippling news, I've never seen on, if only it had flown south along the island! I wandered back south, eeing little and had lunch back at the observatory, a White-tailed Eagle floating over the island as we ate. I had little time left and decided to wander around Bredmar, one last surprise in the form of a cracking male Red-backed Shrike, the bird having been seen earlier by birder's now hunting in front of me. Everyone was able to catch up on it here, a nice wat to end th trip before heading for the ferry. A fantastic few days birding in all, I'll be back...

Photos to follow tomorrow, and there are lots of them...

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