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, July 02, 2012

Pelagic trips for seabirds; Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria; June 2012



A Cory's Shearwater, thousands seen over two pelagic trips. Wonderful to get so close to these birds..




Above and below; European Storm Petrel record shots. Several were noted, the white bars on the underwing covert's are a key feature...








Above and below; White-faced Storm Petrel. At least nine of these enigmatic seabirds were seen well, a life bird for me and something of a dream bird too! Very distinctive birds, a shame I didn't get any better shots really, though some fieldsketches were made..








Bulwers Petrel, another long dreamed of lifer. These seabirds are a dream to see in the western paleartic and the Canary Islands are the place to see them. I had stunning views of one bird in particular, though this one was taken at 105mm whilst I had the shorter lens on. Four of these fantastic petrels were seen from the Marlin fishing charter, Cavalier.




Cavalier, a marlin fishing charter, at dock.

Two trips were made from Puerto Rico for seabirds during my stay. I couldn't have dreamed they would go so well and bring me some fantastic seabirds. The first trip was taken on 'Spirit of thr Sea', a whale and dolphin charter, a three hour trip just offshore from Puerto Rico. As soon as we got out a short distance Cory's Shearwaters were everywhere and I had unforgettable views of these fabulous birds. I had two large skuas, the first looked pale underneth and may have been a Pomarine Skua. The second proved a second calender Great Skua. I had a handful of European Storm Petrel pass the boat, whilst two bigger, darker petrels really got the hairs on my neck standing up. A few minutes later my suspicions were confirmed when a Madeiran Petrel flew across the bow, a lifer! I was elated by this and the trip was made for me. A while later I had amazing views of a Bryde's Whale feeding close by the boat among rafts of Cory's Shearwaters, incredible stuff!
 The second trip made was aboard the markin fishing charter, Cavalier, also from Puerto Rico. Again Cory's Shearwater were everywhere, though it proved very difficult to get photos on the deck of the boat as it plowed through the waves. This was a six hour trip which went further out, leaving at 9am. At around 10am I had a couple of European Storm Petrels, before another bird skipped into view with a gleaming white belly, White-faced Storm Petrel. This was a specieal moment for me and I had held out hope I might see one. A short while later I had two more together, while a Madeiran Petrel flew past a little further out! In all, I would see at least 9 White-faced Storm Petrel on a most remarkable day. Later in the afternoon I watched a 150kg Blue Marlin being caught and realeased an awesome sight, a while later my own rod was taken by another! The fish took 700m of line before throwing the hook, I was gutted. My despair didn't last long as I looked from the stern as a large looking dark seabird flew past, I grabbed the binoculars and feasted my eyes on my first Bulwer's Petrel! Three more passed in the next 90 minutes, amid hordes of Cory's Shearwaters, which were all checked for Cape Verdes Shearwater to no avail. A small black and white Shearwater was seen briefly towards the end, a little too distant to be 100% sure, but almost certainly a Barolo's Shearwater. A good reason to come back again, which I certainly will in the next few years. This is just birding at it's very best...


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