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 23, 2018

Argentatus Herring Gull; Skeppsbron; 20th January 2018

1st Winter/2nd Calender Year. This colour ringed bird from Helsinki has been in the area throughout the winter. A very typical bird in it's age class, very much a classic individual...


3rd Winter/4th Calender year. A nicely marked bird this. Note the third generation primaries, with well defined mirror on P10 and well defined dark marking on P4-P10. Th primary covert's are diffusely dark, whilst the remnants of a subterminal band on the tail are still very obvious in flight. The iris is very light at this stage, whilst the bill has much lemon yellow tone, all typical features of a bird of this age.


Sub Adult. Note here the dark band near the tip of the bill and the suffuse dark on the primary covert's. Both these features indicated a bird that is a sub adult, that is to say this is likely a 4th Winter/5th Calender Year.


3rd Winter/4th Calender Year. Note the still dark looking iris. Again, note  the third generation primaries, though this bird lacks a well defined mirror on P10, with well defined dark markings defined on P5-P10. The primary covert's are diffusely dark, whilst the tailband is not solidly dark. Herring Gulls vary tremendously from individual to individual, there is no set template and birds can show advanced, typical or retarded features whilst in immature plumages.

Sub Adult. Note the dark mark on the bill, lemon toned irides. A very confiding bird...


Probable Sub Adult. A rather dark eyed individual which has been present for some time now and has already been discussed in depth in past posts here on the blog..


1st Winter/2nd Calender Year. Another typical bird, a nice view here of the expected tail pattern...


Adult. A dominant, long calling bird..


1st Winter/2nd Calender Year. A ringed bird from Helsinki. Frustratingly, the bird did not remain long in the area and only four of the birds six numbers were read before it departed..


1st Winter/2nd Calender Year. Another bird that has previously been discussed is this individual with a rather odd appearance due to plain feathers growing through in moult, perhaps due to stress or malnourishment at the time...


Sub Adult.


3rd Winter/4th Calender Year


Adult. A bird that has been in the area since last October, readily identified by it's dark irides and hooked tip to the upper mandible.


1st Winter/2nd Calender Year.


3rd Winter/4th Calender Year


3rd Winter/4th Calender Year


2nd Winter/3rd Calender Year. Note second cycle covert's and tertials, irides remain quite dark in this bird, largely flesh toned bill with a dark band and worn, dark brown primaries.


2nd Winter/3rd Calender year in flight.


2nd Winter/3rd Calender Year? This bird was a little more difficult to age. The second cycle tertials, largely lighter toned bill and evidence of moult in the covert's tipped me in favour of a 2nd winter bird. This bird confuses me somewhat though. Note the dark eyes and apparently largely 1st cycle coverts here. Also, can we trust those scapulars are 2nd cycle? Is this a bird displaying retarded moult? Could this in fact be a 1st winter bird?

2nd Winter/3rd Calender Year. Note second cycle covert's and tertials, light irides, light tones on bill and dark brown primaries with thin paler edges at tip.



2nd Winter/3rd Calender Year. Note second cycle covert's and tertials, irides starting to lighten, flesh toned bill with dark band and dark brown primaries with thin paler edges at tip without white spots at tip.



2nd Winter/3rd Calender Year. Note second cycle covert's and tertials, light irides, yellowish tip to  bill and dark brown primaries with thin paler edges at tip.



3rd Winter/4th Calender Year. A bird that appears quite adult like at rest. Note the delicately marked brownish greater covert's and tertials, as well as the tone on the bill with faint darker smudge.

Images and discussion of Argentatus from Skeppsbron on a day of wonderful winter light.

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