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
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

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Bittern amd Marsh Harrier, Säbysjön, 9th July 2014

 An adult Bittern flies past the Tower at Säbysjön on a memorable morning. I was rewarded with stunning views of this hard to see species today after an early start this morning...

A great early morning and afternoon birding today at Säbysjön. Norra Järvafältet. On arrival I immediately had lots of Hawfinch and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, as well as Wood Warbler. Mosquitos were unbearable in the woods and made it impossible to stop moving at all, such were their numbers, I made haste for the tower in order to concentrate on my target species, Bittern. On arrival there were several Marsh Harrier in the area, including a brood close by the Tower, which were watched over closely by their parents. A foraging adult female Honey Buzzard was much more unexpected and the bird gave me stunning views for around ten minutes, before it dropped to the ground out of sight. Having arrived at 6am I was hopeful of some early Bittern activity, a pair are breeding at the site this year and have been seen well by a few observers in recent days. The lake was alive with birds. Black headed Gull, Pochard, Coot, Gadwall, Mallard, Common Tern, Great Crested Grebe were all busy raising young. Better breeding species included Black-throated Divers, Whooper Swan, Osprey and Green Sandpiper. The weather was glorious and despite the wait I was happy to take it all in. Then, at 08.15am and adult Bittern flew purposefully out of the reeds in the South, allowing stunning views as it passed the tower...

This would prove to be the first of a number of fly pasts by the adult bird over the next few hours, as it flew out to feed and returned an hour to ninety minutes later, dropping into the reeds to feed the young. A bigger suprise came a little later when I located a young bird perched high in the reeds, a little distant, though the scope views were superb. It would reappear again in the following hours on two occasions and gave a fantastic account of itself as it was mobbed by Marsh Harriers.

 Above and below, images of an adult male Marsh Harrier, which floated high overhead on this occasion and was present all morning watching over its young...

This was a superb day out, one of those were I could just relax and take in incredible views of several species, though it was the Bitterns and Marsh Harriers that really were the stars of the show.

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