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

Monday, September 10, 2018

Birding at Ågesta Reserve; Early September




Latest video footage from Ågesta Reserve has now been edited and uploaded. A very nice early autumn morning at the reserve with three classic autumn species...

Recent Fieldsketches; September 2018

 Bluethroat; Black ballpoint biro, Ågesta


 Redshank; Black ballpoint biro; Sandemar Reserve


 Yellow Wagtail; HB Pencil; Ågesta Reserve


 Tree Pipit; HB Pencil; Landsort


Red backed Shrike; HB Pencil; Ågesta Reserve

A few recent pieces of fieldwork from the sketchpad, which I have been making efforts to get back into the habit of using. Generally, leaving the DSLR behind and just bringing a digiscoping camera, which is less bulky, means that I spend more time looking at the birds I see in the field. Hopefully, a lot more of this to come this autumn as I have enjoyed drawing again very much.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Ågesta; 26th August 2018

 Ågesta


 Whinchat; Juvenle


 Tree Sparrow


 Red backed Shrike were feeding around Mysvik and giving superb views as they did so. The light was good and I decided to make an effort to digiscope the five juveniles present.
















A cracking morning spent at Ågesta Nature Reserve. On arrival I spent some time at Mysvik and almost immediately my main target species was in the bag as I found a Bluethroat foraging around the area. It quickly became apparent it was not alone, with at least three birds present. As usual, they were difficult to photograph and I had to be content with excellent views. It had a real feel of autumn this morning, with Yellow Wagtails in the fields and Tree Pipits on the move. Red back Shrikes were very much in evidence, along with some pristine juvenile Whichat. I enjoyed all these at my leisure. Another treat at the lake came in the form of a perched Hobby, which was making sallies out over the lake after Dragonflies. I watched the bird for some time before moving along. A Marsh Harrier was the best at the pumphouse, though a lot of Swallow were moving south overhead. Autumn is now very much in the air....




Sunday, August 12, 2018

Caspian Gull; Skeppsbron; Stockholm; 12th August 2018




























Images here of a stunning juvenile Caspian Gull from Skeppsbron today, a cracking find by Dirk Van Gainsberg. He rang me as soon as he was sure of the identification and I was able to get there quickly and gain 40 minutes with th bird, which showed very well, as is typical at this site.

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.