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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tyresta National Park; 19th January 2015



A really tough day birding around Tyresta today, the reason for going was to film Dipper among the falls at Nyfors. Quite incredibly, none were present. This was very unusual as the birds are present all year round at this site and late winter sees a paean in numbers, indeed, up to a dozen were recorded here about ten days ago. Why they were not present I do not know, though I will try again in a few weeks.
 The darkness of the weather was also a little tough today, there was generally very little around. The best was a group of 11 Hawfinch seen early one at a known site for the species. Apart from that it was common species all day, with my first Greenfinches of the year among other regular species. I decided to shoot some video footage in the area and put together a small video on my return home, which you can view here. Alas, it is without the expected Dippers!




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Winters raptors at Hjälstaviken; 14th January 2015

 A stunning adult Rough-legged Buzzard, always a welcome sight in late winter..


 A digiscoped shot of the upperparts..


Pity it is not entirely in frame here, nevertheless a useful shot with regard to analysis of the plumage. The markings are quite exquisite on this particular individual. Note the solid, dark trailing edge to the primaries and secondaries, prescribing an adult. Other details, such as the distinctive tail pattern, dark undercarriage and dark iris help identify this bird as an adult male, a bird which i saw just a fe weeks ago in the same area...

A day spent at Hjälstaviken today in search of winter Raptors proved well worth the journey, as the intermittent sunshine, the first in some time, saw much activity in the skies over the reserve. I arrived just before 11am and immediately was frustrated. After a distant view of a Rough-legged Buzzard in the west I got onto an eagle all to briefly as it dropped from the skies and disappeared behind the distant treeline. Despite the distance I was quit sure this was a Golden Eagle, probably an older bird, though it just got away from me before I was completely sure. Despite scanning the area intently for the following hour the bird was not seen again and I had to let it go.
 Despite that, the day was quite excellent, with superb numbers of White -tailed Eagle in the area, at least three adults, two second calenders and three immatures at least. My first Common Buzzards of the year were welcome, at least three birds picked up to the west, along with my first Sparrowhawk of the year, probably an adult female. In addition there was a second calendar Goshawk, a little distant, though unmistakable. The order of the day were Rough-legged Buzzard though and I had two adult birds and a single second calendar. Again, it was the adult male above that stole the show and gave me incredible views as it quartered the northern end of the reserve. There was a stiff breeze today, though it proved bitterly cold for me, it proved perfect for the hunting Rough-legged Buzzard. The bird spent hours in the air hovering and hunting, facing into the wind. I spent a lot of time enjoying this bird today, a very nice experience...
 Other birds included Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Common Crosbill and Common Redpoll...

Depite the strong wing and the range, I managed some decent record video of the bird for posterity..


Monday, January 05, 2015

Water Rail; Råstasjön; 5th January 2014











































Headed for Råstasjön this morning, intent on getting a few shots of Water Rail. The site is superb for the species in winter, after the freeze has occurred. On arrival, I immediately picked up a bird close by the path, feeding intently. The bird was totally unafraid and remained in the open for long periods, allowing some of my best shots of the species. It was a wonderful experience and I was dumbfounded when the bird first approached me as I was lying on the ground and began to peck at my fingers! the bird returned to do this a few times and I quickly realised that the bird is being fed by visitors and has become accustomed to receiving handouts. At least three birds were present in the area, though this one was a total star and was a great subject to test the Panasonic GH4 and Panasonic 45-175mm lens combo. The result were pretty good and I was quite happy with the stills.
Other birds at the site included Goshawk, Common Crossbill, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Siskin, Redpoll and Waxwing.



Argentatus Herring Gulls; Skeppsbron, 5th January 2014

 A rather dark adult Argentatus Herring Gull picked up late afternoon today, which really did stand out due to a very dark overall upperpart tone.


 The dark bird can clearly be seen at the rear of this group, strikingly darker than the nearby 4th calendar plus bird..

 A flight shot of this darker individual showing the primary details....


 A near adult type Argentatus Herring Gull here, probably best put down as 4th calendar plus due to the extensive markings on the bill...

 3rd Calender/2nd Winter


  3rd Calender/2nd Winter


  3rd Calender/2nd Winter


  3rd Calender/2nd Winter


  3rd Calender/2nd Winter


2nd Calendar/1st Winter. A bird at the darker end of the spectrum, which  though worthy of a record shot..

Photos here of several Argentatus Herring Gulls from the local patch at skeppsbron today, a quick check revealing nothing odd. I did manage to photograph a rather dark Herring Gull that has been in the area for a while now...