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

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Sandhamn; 7th October 2015

 Parrot Crosbill; Adult Male. A beast of a bill!



  Parrot Crosbill; Adult Male.



  Parrot Crosbill; Adult Male.



  Parrot Crosbill; Adult Male.



  Treecreeper



 Treecreeper



Treecreeper. these scandinavian birds are wonderful. Gleaming white underparts, broad white rear supercilium...

A fantastic day out on the island of Sandhamn, which will remain in my memory for a quite incredible movement of Goldcrest. I arrived on the island at 8am, after taking the ferry from Stavsnas at dawn. On arrival it seemed as though there were a lot of Goldcrest around, although it wasn't until a little later that things became overwhelming. I spent the first while around the village, though it seemed that every bush held Goldcrest and little else. I made my way south along the islands west coast, checking the tideline seaweed and undergrowth. A Great Grey Shrike was most welcome, it came in off the sea and moved in over the island quickly. a really nice sight. No doubt it was moving amongst the Goldcrests. I still had no idea just what was awaiting me until I got to the south end of the island and found every tree was dripping with Goldcrests. The noise was simply phenomenal at times. I have seen some large falls of birds in my time, but never anything on this scale. There were Goldcrests everywhere! I estimated the birds were in thousands rather than hundreds. I made my way to the southwest tip and the birds were most concentrated here. Sitting higher up on the rock I watched as the birds streamed out over the Baltic Sea from the last pines, it was a quite phenomenal sight to see migration on this scale. The mind boggles as to just how many Goldcrest might have been on the move today along this part of the coast, through the Stockholm Archipelago. I had contact with Anders Ericsson, who was not far away, on Svenska Hogarna. They experienced the same thing there today, the island was seething under masses of Goldcrest. I did what I could to check through the birds as they funnelled by me, though despite checking through many hundreds of Goldcrest I never did find a Yellow-browed Warbler, though I am convinced there must have been a few among the crests. There were simply so many, that I was swamped by their numbers. A conservative estimate considering I had 350 birds in 15 minutes departing out over the sea would be 2,000-3,000 birds. God only knows how many birds were involved in this mass movement, the mind boggles. Despite the fact it made finding anything rare incredibly difficult, witnessing migration on this scale is quite a privilege and the whole spectacle was breathtaking.
 I did manage a few other species all the same. In the southwest corner I had my best ever views of a group of Parrot Crossbill, a resident on the island. Two males and three female type fed only in front of me, allowing me to get some lovely video footage of these rather special birds. Among the Goldcrest were a few Treecreeper and Coal Tit. The former were glorious snow white scandinavian birds, wonderful birds. I managed a few photos with my new didgadatper, which was proving to be a real boon. Not having to drag the heavy camera and long lens was a real boon, especially as I covered a lot of ground today. The Coal Tits were also scandinavian birds, naturally, wonderfully smart in appearance. Later I had a Roughlegged Buzzrd winging its way south, whilst an adult male Merlin was the best bird of the day for me, it's been ages since I saw one. It tore past me on the west of the island, all to briefly, a tiny, dashing miracle. I had a wonderful view of it. Other bits included a White Wagtail, 3 Chiff chaff, a few Bramblings, Redwing, a Mistle Thrush. It was tough going trying to sift through the Goldcrest. Number decreased noticeably in the early afternoon though, as the birds filtered through the island. Migration is a magical thing. These birds may be on the Scottish Isles in a few days, then perhaps moving down the Irish coast. Many will move down through Demark and south into France and other countries where they will attempt to survive the winter, before returning to the Taiga next spring. A quite amazing day...

Video of Adult Male Parrot Crossbill Here...

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