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

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.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Sanderling, Bull Island; Dublin Bay; June 2012
























































Sanderling and Dunlin here in flight..


Sanderling here from the beach on Bull Island where at least 142 were present on this day. These birds were present throughout the first two weeks on June while I was home in Ireland and were remarkably variable in appearance, the summer plumaged birds were quite stunning. Also present were good numbers of Dunlin and 7 Grey Plover. On the lagoons were hundreds more Dunlin, 90 Knot, 300 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a handfulof Lapwing. Remarkable numbers for June. Other highlights were a Cuckoo, lots of Shelduck, some Kittiwake and Black Guillemot as well as orchids, buterflies, Common Seals. A remarkable place to birdwatch in everyway which has been very much underwatched over the years, though this is cahnging, have a look at the website here...

http://www.bullislandbirds.com/

The several outings on the island were thorughly enjoyable, this is were I grew up birding and it was nice to be back and to meet up with Tom Cooney, who runs the website and has been watching the island very carefully for the past few years, no doubt he is in for some wonderful birding..


Dunlin; Bull Island; June 2012





















Shots here of Dunlin on Bull Island, Dublin. Several hundred birds present as migration was delayed and there was fantastic opportunities for photos on the beach where these were taken. The incoming tide pushed the birds towards me and allowed some very nice images to be taken, delighted with these, they are stunning in summer plumage...


Fulmars; Howth, Dublin; June 2012
























Shots of Fulmar Petrel here from Howth Head in Dublin. I spent a couple of hours watching, sketching and photographing these wonderful birds at the Nose of Howth were a few pairs were breeding. I've been missing seabirds lately and this was a real treat...

Bull Island; June 2012







 Redd Bunting, a female carrying food to the nest, several pairs breeding on the island...




 Meadow Pipit, a common breeding species..




 Starling flock on the saltmarsh...




 Above and below; Common Seals at the sutton creek....




A few other shots here from Bull Island, a few breeding birds and some Common Seals. A stunning location for birding, have a look here for a complete overview..
http://www.bullislandbirds.com/

Seabirds on Howth Head, Dublin, June 2012

 An adult Kittiwake carrying nest material...




 A pair of breeding Kittiwake, beautiful seafaring gulls these...




 Adult Kittiwake in flight...




A Kittiwake incubating to eggs on the nest. Many of these birds were on eggs on the cliffs..


 A cliff bustling with breeding seabirds. Here there are Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittwakes...




 Above and below, images on the same Gannet flying past. Two nearby colonys hold almost 2000 pairs!





Guillemots resting offshore....

Two trips were made to Howth Head, all of the above shots coming from the first day out. The cliffs here are bust with breeding seabirds of several species and it was a pleasure to see them again. Fulmar were furthest up the cliffs and many were seen. Kittwakes, Guillemots, Razorbill were everywhere, Gannets fed offshore in numbers, whilst Shag and Cormorant were also evident. Overhead Rock Pipits sang, whilst a few pairs of Stonechat were doing well close by. In the harbour several pairs of Black Guillemots gave great views and I really regreted leaving the camera at home to avoid the weight on the cliff walk. Wonder ful stuff at a  wonderful location close to home, very close to Dublin City and easily reached by train or bus....