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

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Argentatus 1st Calender showing dark tertials; Skeppsbron, 5th August 2014

 This drew my eye today in Stockholm, Sweden. Initially the rather dark tertials caused a mild flutter and got me interested in the bird. The dark brown tone and creamy tips to the tertials screamed out to me initially, they seemed perfect for Caspian Gull, though the rest of the bird didn't really fit that species. The bill looked heavy and the bird remained interesting until it flew, when the light inner primaries dashed my hopes of Yellow legged Gull. Pale inner primaries with pale oval on outer web tips and arrowhead tips, along with greater covert's point strongly towards Herring Gull, even if the tail was rather whitish based, it was only thinly tipped with whitish fringes, a pattern that does occur in argentatus Herring Gulls here.

 After a while I got good views of the upperwing and the inner primaries were undoubtedly those of a Herring Gull. Note the rather diffuse pattern on the greater covert's, not quite the ecpected piano key nothces usual on Herring Gull. Another anomoly here is the absence of pale tips to the primary feathers.

 Note again the remarkable blackish brown tertials. Bill can be seen well here, slightly paler at the base of lower mandible.

 Best shot of the tail pattern. Well within the pattern of argentatus Herring Gull.

Here in flight and looking rather like a classic Herring Gull in flight, one would not even give it a second glance on a flight view..

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