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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Sound Recordings; Hällögern, Västerbotten; July 2018

Black-throated Loon

Eurasian Oystercatcher

Eurasian Kestrel

Red Crosbill 'type D' flight calls

Red Crosbill 'type C' flight calls

A selection of the latest sound recording I have made during my stay on the island of Hällögern, Västerbotten. High summer is not the best time to be birding at this location and opportunities for sound recording are not great. In addition, there is much noise pollotion in the area due to boat engines, jet skiing, human disturbance and chainsaws. Nevertheless, some decent recordings have been downloaded to Xeno-Canto in the last few days, which I have posted here. The Black-throated Loon and Crossbill recording were recorded in the early hours after sunrise, which is currently at 03.00am. The Kestrels are breeding on the island, as are a pair of Oystercatcher, which have recently fledged a single juvenile.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Heliophanus Sp.; Hällögern; Västerbotten; 18th July 2018

 Spent a while with this individual, which was actively hunting on a lichen covered rock face, a fascinating creature to spend time with...

 View of the upperparts. Tiny, but built like a tank, a fearsome minature predator.

 A stunning little beast, around 3mm long in total...

Note the pale stripes on the palps and legs here, which led me to wonder if this was Heliophanus cupreus. 

Photos here of a the second jumping spider species I have unearthed on the island on this visit. This obliging individual was actively hunting on the face of a large, lichen covered rock. Specific identification in this genus is notoriously difficult and requires viewing the genitals under a microscope. Many thanks to Raul Vicente for his help with this cracking little jumping spider...

High Brown Fritillary(Argynnis adippe); Hällögern; Västerbotten; 18th July 2018

Delighted to finally pin down this stunning fritillary species today. Distinguishing between Dark Green Fritillary and High Brown Fritillary id difficult and good views of the resting insect are required. For the past eight days a number of fast flying fritillary's have frustrated me by remaining constantly airborne. The increasing heat and also an increase in wind may have help, as this morning I found three of these stunning butterflies feeding in a sheltered, sunny corner.
 The species is widespead here in Sweden.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sound Recordings; Hällögern; Västerbotten; Sweden

A few sound recordings of common bird species from the past few days. Things are quit here in heatwave conditions and there is little moving.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hällögern; Västerbotten; 13th July 2018

 Above; A family party of Velvet Scoter greeted me on the water first thing in the morning, a lovely sight in July!

Had a lie in this morning and arose around 7am, grabbing a decent breakfast bfore heading out for a good look around. A family party of Velvet Scoter were awaiting me first this, whilst overhead came the calls of Red throated Diver on their way out to sea to feed. Arctic Tern were everywhere, feeding their young close by. It was good to be back on the island...

 Northern Damselfly, a stunning species up close...

A look around at birds revealed no surprises,  but all the regulat species were present. A nice addition to the island list were a family party of Willow Tit, which were calling noisely and impossible to miss. A small group of Curlew were wonderful to see and their calls filled the air on several occasions. Other birds included Siskin, Blackcap, 2 Greenshank, 4 Redshank, Willow WArbler, 2 Bullfinch and a lovely flock of Common Crossbill.

 Arctic Tern; Abundant here on the island as always in the summer months...

 A Garden Spider up close, this the species that spins the orb webs with which everyone is familiar...

Highlight of the day for me was this wonderful male Evarcha falcata, a jumping spider which my wife found whilst having a cup of tea on the porch! This ittle fella performed like a supermodel for me, though he was only a few millimeters long he was a brilliant macro subject and a quite incredible little beast up close...

 Scarce Copper, quite a few of these stunning little butterflies were noted today...

I spent much of the day looking at insects and arachnids and taking photos of these, a very enjoyable afternoon indeed. Several species of Butterfly were noted, Scarce Copper being the highlight for me. It will be interesting to see what might turn up in the following weeks here. Again the World Cup took up my evening, as did a nice meal and a cold beer or two. A nice, relaxing summers day..
 Scarce Copper

 Holly Blue; Quite abundant on the island right now. This is the nation butterfly of Finland by all accounts, so not surprised to find it in numbers today..

 Holly Blue

 Holly Blue

 Large Skipper; Another common species here...

 Large Skipper

 Above and below; Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary; The most abundant species of butterfly on the island today by far, with hundreds present.

Hällögern; Västerbotten; 12th July 2018

  Spider ps. Genus Tetragnatha. Possibly Tetragnatha extensa, though impossiblt to be sure without closer inspection in the hand as this genus is difficult to identify specifically in the field. 

  Above and below; Spider Sp. Genus Tetragnatha. Possibly Tetragnatha dearmata, though impossible to be sure without closer inspection in the hand as this genus is difficult to identify specifically in the field. Many thanks to Raul Vicente for his help with these arachnids.

 Spider Sp. Genus Tetragnatha. Possibly Tetragnatha extensa, same individual as above...

Moth sp. which was rather small at round 6mm in length and appeared to be fedding on lichen. Remarkable camouflage...

After a brief flight to Umeå from Stockholm we struggled through the aqquisition of two weeks supplies before making our way to the tiny island of Hällögern on the Baltic coast of Västerbotten.Almost immediately on arrival a call from close to the cabin alerted me to a new species for the island. A young Grey headed Woodpecker was seen well briefly, as well as a feeding adult female. A chat with a local later in the evening confirmed the birds had bred on the island this year. I was delighted with this as it was only the fourth occsasion I have seen the species. Hopefully the birds will remain in the area for some time..
 There was quite a lot to be done in oreder to prepare for our stay and most of the afternoon was take up by this task. The heat was sweltering at 26 degrees, remarkably warm for a site so far north. I did manage a brief look around the island, an managed a few macro images around the cabin before watching the France v Belgium World semi final. Essential viewing!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Purple Hairstreak; Tyresta National Park; 1st July 2018

This was unexpected this morning. Purple Hairstreak is a species I have never seen well before. As it lives high in the canopy of Oak trees, I have seen what I assumed to be this species on several occasions with a fair degree of certainty. However, finding this individual close to the ground today was very nice indeed as I was able to get some cracking images of it at rest. As it flew I was able to see it was indeed deep purple blue on the upperparts, confirming my suspician as to it's identity..

Pardosa lugabris; Tyresta National Park; 1st July 2018

Images here of a female Pardosa lugabris, a Common species of Wolf Spider here in Sweden. She is carrying her egg sack beneath her abdomen. This is a small species that lives for 1-2 years and dies after reproduktion as an adult.

Silver Studded Blue; Tyresö National Park; 1st July 2018

Silver Studded Blue here from Tyresta National Park, where the species was abundant this morning. This is arather small species and can be flighty, though with a little patience in the right area I was able to get some nice close up images.

Beautiful Demoiselle; Tyresö Nyfors; 1st July 2018

A favourite damsel species of mine here, the stunning Beautiful Demoiselle. This specis is not common around Stockholm due to the lack of suitable habitat. This species is found around running water, so the waterfalls at Tyresö Nyfors are one of the few locations I know close to the city where this little jewel can be found. Three individuals present today. With a little patience and careful positioning I was able to get some nice images this morning...

Silver Washed Fritillary; Tyresö Nyfors; 1st July 2018

A few images of Silver Washed Fritillary from this morning. The species is widespread and easy to find around Stockholm at this time of the year. Nevertheless, it is a stunning creature and a favourite species of mine. A wonderful photographic subject which is very approachable when it is feeding...