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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Carmine Bee-eater; Ingaro; 14th October 2012

 Carmine Bee-eater. Why not start with the best shot, what a stunning bird in every way...

Carmine Bee-eater in Sweden. No chance, right? This saga started around Öland on 2nd June 2012, when a Carmine Bee-eater turned up at Vickelby, Öland. The bird was a Northern Carmine Bee-eater, Merops nubicus nubicus. The bird was present on Öland for some time before dissapearing. Then on October 5th 2012, three birds were found at Ljungsbro, Östergotland, befre moving to Vreta on the 6th October. They then disapeared a few days later before 2 birds were relocated to the south a few days ago at Ingaro, Uppland. The species in not unknown in captivity, due to it's stunning coloration, however there are none in Sweden. These are surely escapees from somewhere in europe, though I still could not resist making the trip today..
 When I arrived it was raining and the birds had not been seen since earlier in the morning and I wondered if they had moved on. Around 12.25pm. the rain stopped and I heard a loud call as two birds flew in and landed on an aerial. Unmistakable and soaking wet, here were 2 Northern Carmine Bee-eaters! They were quite tolerant of humans, they soon began to feed. They were adept at taking honeybees and were getting plenty of food. It was a great pleasure to see these large birds hunting along the quiet street. Birder's soon began to arrive and the birds moved off a short distance and were soon relocated on the next street to the north, again favouring aerials as perches. The birds were calling only very infrequently and the noise of gathering birder's was too much to get a recording, so I contented myself with photograping the birds..

 My first view of the birds, which appeared from some pine tress as soon as the rain had ceased. As can be seen in this shot, both of them were rather wet and bedraggled at that stage, though still stunning. ..



 Above and Below; The same individual here, which had intact longer central tail feathers. This shot taken earlier, whilst the bird was still wet. The wings were held raised in order to aid drying the plumage out. Note the rather, large billed appearance...




After an hour or so the birds had dried the plumage out and were truly stunning. It became apparent that they were showing signs of moult on the primaries, as can be seen in the photos posted. I was struck by how effeciently they hunted insects. After some time the birds flew east and out of view, at which point I doubled back with the parabol assembled and retured to the same area I first located the birds. a few blue patches in the sky were approaching and just as I arrived one of the birds flew in to a tree along the roadside. I pointed the parabol as it flew in an just as it landed, it called! I had a nice recording of the call....nice!
 A minute later the sun came out and the other bird flew in and landed on an areial. The sun stayed out for just five minutes and during this time I got a few very nice shots, the birds were simply stunning in the sunshine. After a few minutes though, the cloud again took over and the dull light returned, though the birds were showing very well as a few birders began to appear. I enjoyed amazing views before leaving, a fantastic experience, whatever the birds origins...

 The same bird here again, a little later in the the afternoon and a little drier. A quite unmistakeable bird..




 A useful shot here showing moult as the bird comnes in to land. The tail is fully feathered...




 The second individual here, at rest in a tree. This was the only period where the sun peeped through the cloud and lit the plumage up. I was fortunate to relocate the birds at this point, having moved away from the crowd of visiting birder's due to noise, as I wanted to attempt to record these birds...


Here, a sound recording of the call made with the Telinga Parabol. Just click on play to hear the call...




 Above and below; Images here of the fully tailed individual preening in the sunshine. A pearl...





 A view of the second individual landing in the tree, from where it hawked honeybees. It seems this bird is moulting also, an inner primary having been dropped?



 The second individual here in flight...




The last image I took before I left the area, the bird close by on an aerial....



One last shot, a bird, stunning in the sunshine....



2 comments:

Paschalis said...

Wow! This is unbelievable find Alan!
Is there any fieldwork to expect?

Regards

Paschalis

Alan Dalton said...

Hi Pascallis,

There is indeed a little fieldwork, though I didn't have watercolours onsite! Think this will have to be remedies by the addition of a little colour, normally don't add later, though in this case it may be warranted;)