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, September 23, 2015

Advanced moult in 1st Calendar Baltic Gull; 23rd September 2015

 Bird 1. A quite remarkably advanced 1st Calendar Baltic Gull with regard to moult, certainly the most advanced I have ever seen. The majority of the mantle and scapulars have been replaced, as well as some lesser and median covert's.

Bird 1. Decided to make efforts to get some record video of this bird, which turned out quite well.

 Bird 2. Not as advanced as the the bird above, but still quite remarkable. Note the innermost greater covert is fresh.

Bird 2. View of the birds left side. A whiter headed bird than the first and very easy to pick out amongst the argentatus onsite.

Two Baltic Gulls showing a remarkable degree of moult for their age group, which is 1st Calendar. The first bird is quite remarkable. The vast majority of Baltic Gulls have left in the past week, it won't be long before these remarkable birds leave for the wintering grounds..

Argentatus Herring Gull; Skeppsbron; 23rd September 2015

 A very dark 2nd Calendar bird.

 1st Calendar

 1st Calendar

 1st Calendar

 1st Calendar

 1st Calendar

 1st Calendar, note the replaced tertial and covert's.

 2nd Calendar

 2nd Calendar

 3rd Calendar

 3rd Calendar

 Advanced 3rd Calendar or 4th Calendar?

 Long Calling 4th Calendar

 Long Calling 4th Calendar

 Long Calling 4th Calendar

 4th Calendar

 Adult type



Sub Adult

Video here of a long calling 4th Calendar Herring Gull..

House Sparrow's filmed with iPhone6 at Skeppsbron, Sweden; 23rd September 2015

It's quite remarkable the technology we carry around in our pockets these days. Here a short little videoclip of feeding House sparrows shot with my iPhone6 earlier today...

Greater Black-backed Gull; 1st Calendar; 23rd September 2015; Skeppsbron

 At rest on the wharf. A deep chested, heavy gull with a short deep bill. Legs thickset and there is a general impression of bulk and power. Quite pale around the head, which is small structurally. Well streaked neck and upper breast typical of the species in this plumage. Finer plumage details highlighted below...

 Tail pattern here, very typical of local GBBG. Note the rather reduced dark subterminal band towards the outer tail, with some clear barring on inner tail. The rump is quite clean with some diffuse coffee coloured crescents.

 Detail of the wing. Despite the bad light the inner primaries can be seen to be rather pale, with slightly darker, smoky grey outer webs. The pale inner webs continue to P8-P9, much paler than in Argentatus here.
 Detail of the tertials and covert's here. Rather typical of the species, though there is much variability here. Note the creamy white tips to the tertials with no obvious notching. Greater coverts creamy based with sparse, bold bars. 

 Scapulars showing moult, the new feathers and their pattern can be clearly seen here. The anchor shaped pattern on the new scapulars is textbook.

Here, the deep bill is very obvious. A real brute of a bird this one.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Red Throated Pipits at Sandemar; 7th September 2015

 Always nice to see Red-backed Shrike, no matter where you are...

Arrived at Sandemar just before dawn and sat and waited for the sun to rise. My attention was initially given to a pair of Roe Deer that were feeding a couple of hundred metres away. As the sun rose they remained in the open and I was happy to get a few images and shoot some video as the light improved. Roe Deer are abundant here in Sweden, often seen in the early morning and evening. They are very nice animals to watch all the same and it was a nice way to begin the day...

 Roe deer buck at dawn..

 Roe Deer, an attendent doe...

 Very much aware of my presence...

As the sun had risen I decided to position myself in the reserves observation tower, which I had to myself. A careful scan of the shoreline revealed 9 Ruff, a single Golden Plover, Lapwing, plenty of Teal and a few Hooded Crow. White Wagtail were everywhere and I checked through these carefuly before watching the skies. Wood pigeon and Swallows were moving south, along with a single Tree Pipit. After a while I heard the unmistakable high call of a Red throated Pipit, the bird I had hoped for on the day. Early September is the time to see these birds on passage. I watched as two birds approaches. one was a Meadow Pipit and the other my target species. Both were calling constantly as they approached and to my delight, landed in a tree. Despite a range of around 100 metres, I managed some very decent record shots and had fantastic scope views of the bird. I was well chuffed at this point!
 Red Throated Pipit

 Red Throated Pipit

 Rep Throated Pipit

 Red Throated Pipit taking off

 Direct comparison between Meadow Pipit(at the top) and Red Throated Pipit(at the bottom)

I continued to scan and was scoping the wagtails at the far side of the canal when I picked up a second Red throated Pipit, As I watched it at range a third bird appeared in my scope! Onwards then to try and get closer, leaving the tower I made my way to Hoggarn and out on to the wet meadows. After a short time I located the birds on call, though they were impossible to find on the deck visually. I had some decent flight views as the birds moved around, eventually treated to nice scope views of a secong bird which also landed in a tree. The views were superb and I enjoyed them enormously.

 A different Red throated Pipit here, record shots managed of two out of three birds...

After this I spent a few hours wandering around. A Red backed Shrike juvenile was enjoyed, as was a Migrant Hawker, a dragonfly species. Common species included Yellowhammer, ChiffChaff, Chaffinch. Skylark, Common Buzzard. Try as i might, I just couldn't dig out a Bluethroat. Never mind, a great morning, thoroughly enjoyed..

 Yellowhammer, a young male bird...

Yellowhammer, an adult male checking me out.

Video of this morning here...

Friday, September 04, 2015

Skeppsbron; 4th September 2015

 Baltic 1st Calendar; Note the moult in this individual...

  Baltic 1st Calendar; Note the moult in this individual...

  Baltic 1st Calendar; Note the moult in this individual...

  Baltic 1st Calendar; Note the moult in this in close up.

 Baltic Gull, the same moulting bird in flight...

 Above and below, a juvenile Baltic Gull still begging from adult in September...

 Baltic Gull; Adult

 Argentatus Herring Gull; 1st Calendar

  Argentatus Herring Gull; 1st Calendar
  Argentatus Herring Gull; 1st Calendar

  Argentatus Herring Gull; 1st Calendar

  Argentatus Herring Gull; 2nd Calendar

   Argentatus Herring Gull; 2nd Calendar, same bird as above.

   Above and below: Argentatus Herring Gull; 3rd Calendar

3rd Calendar Argentatus...

Video here of some of the above birds...