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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Batumi, 21st September 2014

 Dries Engelen, Half Man, Half Bear Pig, Dutch birder and all round good guy.

Rain all day, which was heavy and continuous. I had been chosen for Shuamta, though it quickly became apparent that it would be pointless to go there in the Marshutka and we decided to sit and wait. The rain did not ease off throughout the morning and we waited at the house, thing the opportunity to edit photos on the laptop. I also managed to edit some of the video footage I had videos coped with the Lumix GH4 and I was delighted with the results.
 The decision to abandon the count at Shuamta was made around 2pm., at which point it would make no sense to travel there, given the time constraints. The weather did ease off slightly in the late afternoon, I was restless and decided to get up the hill for a while. Much to my surprise, there were a few raptors moving, notably 15 Marsh Harriers and 18 Black Kites. The numbers were very small by Batumi standards, though it was phenomenal to witness migration in these terrible conditions. The birds were low and tired. I was surprised to hear the first shots, as I had hoped that the weather might deter hunters, though it seemed not and my enjoyment of these wonderful birds, battling the conditions was now spoiled as it became apparent that the Marsh Harriers, in particular, were being gunned down. Hunting is a huge problem here and may birds are shot. On days like today, when rain forces the birds low and many are tired after crossing over from the Greater Caucasus, they are easy targets for the shotguns. A juvenile Pallid Harrier passed close by, then a few Steppe Buzzards and I found myself hoping the weather would close back in and the passage would stop. A couple of minutes after they passed a volley of shots was heard at a ridge to the south where a group of hunters has taken cover and it was apparent these birds were likely no more. Watching any bird shot down is tough to see, though raptors being gunned out of the sky is particularly hard to take, they are often vocal when hit. The rain did begin to get heavier in the evening and passage mercifully came to a halt. I headed down the hill and hoped for blue skies the following morning...


Lesser Kestrel perched just beside the station....

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