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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Great Skua, 2nd calender; Gran Canaria; 22nd June 2012

Note here the dark head, contrasting with warm toned nape and underparts. The reduced white on the primaries is typical of juvenile Great Skua, though this bird was not initially straightforward due to it's location in the waters off the Canary Islands...

The bird is coming to the end of its first post juvenile primary moult, see P9 growing out, a fresh feather, whilst P10 is old. This timing of moult is in line with that of Great Skua, the southern soecies such as South Polar and Brown Skua's having long fininshed this moult due to breeding six months earlier in the Southern Hemisphere..

Note the short vent, typical of the species...

Evidence of moult also on the underwing here. The bill looked fine in the field, though is in line with a Great Skua in this agegroup. A very instructive bird..

A Great Skua here which I saw off the coast of Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria. The bird initially caused some confusion as the species is scarce in these waters and the southern skuas had to be taken into consideration. I am grateful to Killian Mullarney for his helpful comments on the bird, which he confirmed is indeed a Great Skua.

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