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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Batic Gull; 1st Calendar in moult; Skeppsbron; 28th August 2015

 Bird A. Right side. This rather advanced bird has been in the area for some time and shows several moulted scapulars.

 Bird A. Left side. Again several upper scapulars moulted.

 Bird A. Detail of scapulars on left side.

 Bird A. Detail of Scapulars on right side. Moult is not symmetric on this individual...

 Bird B. Also rather advanced with interesting moult. Right side here.

 Bird B. Left side also shows moult in same areas.

 Bird B. A nice view of those new middle scapulars here, showing the detail on the new feathers...

 Bird C.
 Bird C.

 Bird D. Right side. The very beginnings of moult are apparent in this photo.

Bird D. Left side. Again, minimal moult, though in same area as the other side of the bird.

Alway interesting to monitor moult in gulls, though especially in species such as Baltic Gull. This species was initially not thought to moult until it reached the winter quarters, but careful observation by gull enthusiasts has shown that a reasonable percentage of bird do, in fact, begin moult before departure. The four birds above were photographed this morning in very awkward light, though a good impression can be gained from the shots taken. The upper two birds are the most advanced, though close scrutiny revealed at least sseven birds out of 15 juveniles present were showing some sign of fresh moult on the mantle/scapulars. Hope these birds hang on as late as they can in order for observations of moult progress to continue to be documented.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baltic Gull? 2nd Calendar; Skeppsbron; 19th August 2015

 A confiding bird up on the shark at Skeppsbron...

 On the water with a 1st Calendar Herring Gull

 Detail of the upper parts here. It is obviously in active moult, as is to be expected in the age class

 Detail of Tertails and Primaries, rather damaged and worn...

 Detail of the head..note the yellowish tones near the tip of the bill, lightened iris and moulting mantle and scapulars.

Above and below; In flight it became apparent the bird was in a rather advanced state of moult, with P1-P2 being newly grown out second generation remiges. P3 is growing and P4 has been dropped. The older 1st generation P5-P10 are old, worn first generation feathers. Moult seems advanced for Baltic Gull, though I do wonder whether birds in this age class can show advanced moult during late summer and autumn, unlike the adult birds?

Video footage for reference here;

Baltic Gull; 1st Calender; Skeppsbron; 19th August 2015

Just a few shots and some reference video of a couple of 1st Calendar Baltic Gulls from today...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Baltic Gull; 3rd Calendar showing three moult cycles in primaries

 A third calendar bird present today showing three moult cycles in the primaries. P7-P10 are clearly first generation feathers, pointed tips, faded and worn. These would of been the birds first juvenile primaries. P5-P6 are clearly fresher, rounded feathers from the second moult cycle. P3-P4 have been dropped and the inner P1-P12 represent the newest, freshest feathers in the wing, having just grown out. 
 Note here the moult in the tail, with fresh white feathers breaking the dark tailband. Also the bill is quite like that of an adult. Outer greater coverts have been dropped also. Moult wise, a very complex bird..

Another angle on the wing to view the primaries here...

Shots here of a very interesting bird from Skeppsbron, a 3rd Calendar showing a clear example of three moult cycles in the wing. This bird must of arrested its first juvenile moult at P6, for whatever reason. The third moult cycle has now begun...

Skeppsbron; 13th August 2015

 A confiding 1st calendar Baltic Gull at point blank. Strong light made photography difficult.

 Baltic Gull. A 1st Calendar shows the underside as it comes in to land...

 A Baltic Gull, 1st Calendar in flight.

 Baltic Gull, 1st Calendar in flight..

 Baltic Gull, 1st calendar in flight showing the underparts..

 Everyday throws up new individuals it seems. This was the first time I had seen this particular 1st calendar Baltic Gull...

 Baltic Gull, Adult in Flight.

 Baltic Gull, Adult in Flight.

 A couple of Baltic Gulls at rest on the dock by the Djurg√•rden Ferry, a real hotspot for young Baltic Gulls at the moment...

 Baltic Gull, 1st Calendar. Urban gulls in the city centre...

 Baltic Gull, 1st Calendar.

 Gull group on the dock, Herring, Baltic and Common 1st calendars here...

 Argentatus 1st Calendar..

Argentatus 1st Calendar

A selection of photos from Skeppsbron, the latest batch as such. A record count today of 1st calendar Baltic Gulls for me, with a minimum of 16 birds counted.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

2nd Calendar Baltic Gull; Skeppsbron; 8th August 2015

 A stunning 2nd Calendar Baltic Gull, which appeared out of nowhere after a few hours checking the area for gulls. The first time I have seen this individual, which showed really well.

 Note the pale head, bill pattern and tone. The iris is already becoming lighter in this bird.  Note the newly replaced slaty mantle and scapular feathers, with new median covert's also apparent on the deck.
 A very striking bird in flight. Note the dark tailbone, dark secondaries and fully winged appearance, a classic 2nd Calendar Baltic Gull. A stunner...

 Another flight shot, the bird was very cooperative...

 A nice view of the upper wing here...

Lastly, a better image with regard to the tail pattern here...

Spent the morning and early afternoon with Maarten Von Kleinwee around the Skeppsbron area, also covering City Hall and Nybroviken. Now a lot of gulls around, though we did manage some nice birds and the light was quite good as well. A very enjoyable moment came when this 2nd Calendar Baltic Gull appeared out of nowhere and proceeded to give stunning views. A textbook 2nd Calendar Baltic Gull this one, and an instructive bird. 

Light Mantled Lesser Black-backed Gull; Skeppsbron; 8th August 2015

 A bird of at least third calendar year, note the dark markings on the tail and brownish remiges on the upper wings. The clinching feature is the newly replaced P1-P4, clearly visible in these shots.

 Note the strongly contrasting dark subterminal band on P4 here, which is not quite fully grown on the left wing. P5 has been dropped, whilst P6-P10 are second generation feathers.

Still some markings on the underwing, visible here...

Three images here of a light mantled Lesser Black-backed Gull from early this afternoon at Skeppsbron. The bird showing obvious moult on the inner primaries and had replaced P1-P4.

Skeppsbron; 8th August 2015

 1st Calendar Baltic Gull

  1st Calendar Baltic Gull

  1st Calendar Baltic Gull

  1st Calendar Baltic Gull

  1st Calendar Baltic Gull

  1st Calendar Baltic Gull

 1st Calendar Argentatus Herring Gull

 Adult Baltic Gull

1st Calendar Common Gull

A few images from a very nice morning gull watching around Stockholm City...