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, February 03, 2013

Hawk Owl; Sandemar; 3rd Febuary 2012



 The bird flew over my head quite soon after my arrival, soon it was actively hunting in the area..


 The bird settled in a corner of Hoggarn eventually and was oblivious to the many birders who came and went during the day. The views were quite incredible as the bird hunted voles constantly. Having eaten it's fill it began to hoard food as it was caught...


 The light was incredible today, a little cold perhaps. but there was not a cloud in the sky and the bird seemed to enjoy the sunshine. It sat out in plain view, giving breathtaking views throughout the day...


 The bird was something of a shapeshifter, often changing pose. Here it is looking over it's shoulder after something drew it's attention whilst preening...


 The dark markings framing the face give this species a stunning appearance, a fabulous bird...


 Another close up shot. The bird often sat very close to the birders present, totally unconcerned..


 Note here the dark upper breast band and beautifully barred underparts...


 Very reminiscent of a huge Shrike, due to the long tail and habit of sitting out on prominent perches, scanning the ground for prey...


 The bird in a conifer, having just hoarded a vole which it caught moments before. Several voles were hoarded in this manner, all in different trees in the area,..


 


 


 


 The bird looking directly downwards after hearing a Vole underneathe it's perch. Moments later it plummeted to the ground to snatch a meal...


 Here the bird is hoarding a vole in a birch tree, the rodent being just visible on the branch under the breast. A remarkably efficient hunter, in six attempts the bird caught no less than five times..


 The bird on the deck having just caught yet another vole...


 Perched with prey, just prior to hoarding it. With bad weather and snow forecast, these caches of food will help the bird through harder times, when hunting may be more difficult due to deep snow or reduced visibility..


 After catching a vole the plumage was invariably carefully preened...


 Another shot of the bird with prey...


 Having a scratch...


 Again, the bird hoarding prey. Remarkable to be able to observe such behaviour at close quarters...


 At this point the bird was just a few metres from me, having caught a vole and then landed on a birch beside me, before hoarding it..


 Having located prey the bird would launch itself into the air and take the shortest, most direct route towards it. The flight is rapid and very fast...


Another flight shot here...


An image here of the bird taking off after catching food, the Vole can clearly be seen in the birds talons...

On a day of stunning light and blue skies, Sandemar was the venue for a second day out to search for the still present Hawk Owl. As on the first occasion, it was immediately on view. The bird would remain on view throughout the morning and afternoon, often at close range and it gave mind blowing views as it hunted voles at the back of Hoggarn. It was nothing short of remarkableto watch this bird stopping from the trees on it's prey and hoarding it's catch in the suroounding trees for consumption at a later date. The bird caught five times out of six, an amazingly efficient predator, seemimngly perfectly adapted to taking it's unfortunate food source. I spent five hours watching the bird today, an unforgetable experience which will live long in the memory. Many photos were forthcoming and I even managed some sketching despite the cold, drawing with thin gloves on!

Here a little record video footage;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkMmGtoWYMs&feature=youtube_gdata

No comments: