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, October 24, 2012

A Dusky Warbler and Golden Eagle; Migration; Landsort; 23rd October 2012


Migrating Waxwing were a feature of the morning, birds moving from just after dawn...



My last day on the island on this particular trip, I woke at the usual time and made breakfast. I was alone in the observatory and it was odd to set out alone. I made my way to the lighthouse and readied my equipment, though there was no sound recording today as my flash card was full on my marrantz recorder. I could of made space on the card the night before, but I was too tired to bother! I felt the better of a good nights sleep. There were a few day trippers on the first ferry and it was good to have extra eyes on the island. I settled down and started to log migration at sea and overhead, where passerines were passing. Though passage was not as havy as the previous day, there was lots going on and I jotted noted down furiously as birds passed Sodra Udden. Snow Bunting was recorded straight away, calling high overhead, though I could not locate them in the skies above. At sea there was a decent passage of Common Scoter and Velvet Scoter. A Red Necked Grebe early on was promising, as was a Red-throated Diver. Overhead, passerines were moving southwest and it quickly became apparent there were lots of Waxwing, Fieldfare and Starling moving. The following species and totals were recorded migrating between 07.30-10.10am when there was a twist which put an end to seawatching..

266 Starling, 474 fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 11 Tree Sparrow, 3 Skylark, 14 Little Gull(with another 12 offshore), 21 Snow Bunting, 184 Waxwing, 68 Long Tailed Tit, 3 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, 93 Chaffinch, 233 Siskin, 4 Siskin, 68 Redpoll, 27 Brambling, 3 Dunnock, 5 Meadow Pipit, 183, Common Scoter, 55 Velvet Scoter, 24 Red Breasted Merganser, 23 Goldeneye, 33 Eider, 75 Cormorant, 2 Scaup, 285 Barnacle Goose, 1 Brent Goose, 14 Black Guillemot, 5 Red Necked Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Sparrowhawk, 1 Rough Legged Buzzard, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 4 Red Throated Diver, 40 Twite, 11 Linnet, 2 Bullfinch, 3 Goldfinch.


Trying to relocate Dusky Warbler...

At 10.10am Fredrik Johansson appeared and told Torbjörn and T that he had located a warbler he was having touble identifying. The bird was skulking and difficult to see, though he felt it was something good. We hurried down the hill and after an anxious few minutes the bird flew out of a willow bush and landed about six metres from where I stood. I had a superb view of the bird at just seven or eight metres range for perhaps ten seconds. I took in the long, well defined supercilium, overall brownish tones, and uniform underparts and undertail covert's. The bird began to call, I told the others that the bird was a Dusky Warbler. It continued to call for three or four seconds before flitting into another bush, calling as it went. It dived into cover and we followed. All four observers were happy with the identification. A quick playback of the call of Dusky Warbler on a mobile phone cemented this identification, the call was 100% Dusky Warbler. Raddes Warbler was easily ruled out on the views we had and by the distinctive call. We were all delighted with ourselves and set about seeing the bird again with a view to getting a few photos and generally enjoying the bird. It seemed the bird had other ideas though, and to our bemusement we could not pick it up again. We soon spread out and covered every likely bit of cover, listening intently, though nothing. I quickly located a Ring Ouzel, a first calender male, though this was not what we were looking for. Then Håkan screamed, he had seen a brief Golden Eagle rounding Sodra Udden! A few minutes later I flushed this bird from the rocks in front of me on Sodra Udden, an awesome sight at just fifteen metres range! It rose into the wind in front of me as I gawped and ripped the camera from the bag, ventually getting some good shots, despite terrible light. The bird flew upwards into the northwest wind, before circling over our heads and giving us all stunning views. It eventually struck out over the sea and we went back to trying to refind the warbler. The eagle would in fact reappear after a failed migration attempt, it was found soaring over Bredmar before moving south again past sodra Udden, where it passed high over my head and drifted off to the southeast. I intially thought it might be a second bird, though close examination of photos suggest it was indeed the same individual. As regards the Dusky Warbler, none of us ever saw it again, despite combing the area for some hours....


 A Goldcrest at Sodra Udden...


 A young Golden Eagle at Sodra Udden, what an incredible experience it was to flush this huge bird from the rocks in front of me, whilst trying to relocate the Dusky Warbler!


A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. It seems plenty of these are migrating through Landsort this year, rather suprisingly. It is rather curious to see these tiny birds moving out over the sea and migrating. Earlier in the morning I had two birds migrating high overhead amongst a flock of Northern Long Tailed Tit...

 A few highlights remained. In the end I had 2 Ring Ouzel on Sodra Lunden and enjoyed good views of these birds through the scope. There were aslo several Lesser Spotted Woddpecker in the area, a few of which were seen to migrate. A flock of 14 Snow Bunting made a cracking sight as they flew past, whilst a couple of migrating Woodlark were also very nice. The guys also had a Black Redstart. All too soon, my time was up and I made way back to the bird observatory, packed and cleanded my room and headed for the ferry. It had beed an stunning few days birding, incredible quality as well as good quantities of migrants. an unforgetable experience, I'll be back in October!

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