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

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Paddyfield Warbler, Batumi Harbour, 2nd October 2014

Paddyfield Warbler at Batumi Harbour. Overlooked in the field and only identified subsequently when going through my photos on my return to Sweden. This bird rang alarm bells as soon as I saw it on my computer screen. A short, stout bill, long flared super cilium, short primary projection all told me this was no Reed Warbler...

Note the rounded tail here, the best view of the four photos of this features. The raised tail is typical of the species. Note the fairly plain underparts and light brown, rather uniform upper parts. 

Here a great view of the long supercilium, which flares behind the eye. Above the supercilium, the sides of the crown are rather dark, accentuating the super, a classic feature of Paddyfield Warbler. The lords are light brown and there is a noticeable eyeing. There overall effect is of a very different facial appearance than that of the local Reed Warbler's. The bill is much shorter than in Reed Warbler, with a stout base and darker tip to both mandibles. Note also the short under tail coverts on the bird- 

A key feature of Paddyfield Warbler is the short primary projection, here there is a clear view of that. Happily, from the point of view of identifying this bird, there were a number of photos of the bird which showed the key features. Note also the darker inner webs on the tertials and paler fringes.

This bird was something of a shock to the system. The numbers of Reed Warblers aroung the harbour at Batumi on October 2nd were staggering, the birds were simply everywhere. The birds were interesting nonetheless, due to the easten location and we wanted to get plenty of photos of the birds for later inspection. I took hundreds of pictures of Reed Warblers, with a view to analysing the shots at a later date. Based on the location we figured the bulk of the birds should be Caspian Reed Warbler, and a few interesting birds were noticed in the field that were very cold toned.
 It was only on my return home to Sweden that I finally had time to apply myself to the Reed Warbler images, which were numerous and confusing, though as soon as the images of this bird came up on my monitor i knew I had missed a good bird. The identification from these shots was relatively straightforward in the end and the bird was a clear Paddyfield Warbler, a rarely recorded species in Georgia, though surely massively under recorded. 

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