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

Monday, February 04, 2019

Gulls at Gamla Stan; 3rd January 2019


Adult Canus Common Gull on the right

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull.

Common Gull, canus, first winter.

Argentatus Heering Gull, first winter

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull
Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Common Gull

1st Winter Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

Adult Common Gull

1st Winter Common Gull

A selection of images taken at the patch today, all of Common Gull and Argentatus Herring Gull.

North Bull Island, December 2018

Brent Geese

The final week of 2018 saw me home in Ireland visiting family and birding as often as time would allow on North Bull Island. As usual in winter, there were plenty of wildfowl and waders present, although the overall numbers were low, reflecting the long term trend for many species that winter on the island. Nevertheless, birding was enjoyable as always and there were many highlights over several days. A trip to the northern end was productive, with 2 Jack Snipe and 2 Short Eared Owl the highlights. Over the course of the week excellent views were had of wintering Merlin and Peregrine Falcon as well, which was very nice.

The view south from the causeway over the mudflats

In general, there were plenty of birds to be seen, with large flocks of Knot, Black tailed Godwit, Bar tailed Godwit and Curlew present. Wildfowl numbers were low in general, though a good number of Pintail were noted, with over 300 present on the island. Shoveler numbers were noticably low at the site. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable sitting out awaiting the birds on the rising tide as always.


Raven calling over the northern saltmarsh

As the tide begins to rise, wader numbers slowly build up...

Below...A group of Shoveler, with a single Wigeon at the back right...

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Caspian Gull; 1st Winter; Skeppsbron; 8th December 2018

 Caspian Gull. Delighted to find the bird still present at the site today. It gave fantastic views down to a  metre or two at times and was enjoyed by several birders whilst I was there today..

 A really nice bird this one, here at rest on the water...

 Nice comparison with 1st winter Argentatus. Note the long necked appearance here, along with the whiter head, bill shape, tertial pattern and difference in greater coverts.

 Upperparts from above in flight.

 Nice image of the fanned tail here, Again, classic Caspian Gull, with whitish base and blackish tail band. Just a mall amount of black barring. 

 In flight, note the typical greater coverts, which look darker at the bases and lack the typical triangular notches of Herring Gull.

 Very confiding today and the bird was rather aggresive at times, competing with the local Argentatus Herring Gulls for handouts. The bird was frequently to close to photograph.

 Close up of the head. The bird is a rather classic individual, probably a female. Note the rather long, parallel sided shape of the bill.

 Close up of the mantle and scapulars. Note the typical pantern on the second cycle mantle and scapulars, typical of 1st winter Caspian Gull.

 Close up of the tertials and wing covert's...

View of the underwing, typical of the secies in this plumage. Rather whitish on the underwing and not as well marked as Herring Gull. Again, a nice view of the tail here as well...

A selection of images of the 1st winter Caspian Gull, which is still present at Skeppsbron and showing very well. The bird calls constantly and this makes locating the bird extremely simple. It is a striking bird and quite easy to pick out by appearance alone, though the typical braying call really carries well and makes locating the bird among seventy odd Herring Gull very much easier. Nice to get some better images today, though it was heavily overcast on the day.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Caspian Gull; Skeppsbron; 2nd December 2018

 A first winter bird, note the classic tertials and the pattern on the moulted scapulars.

 Lucky to get any kind of flight image given the appalling light. This image shows the tail pattern well nonetheless, along with the dark based greater coverts, also the 'venetian blind effect' on the inner primaries and a small headed appearance.

A really nice individual. Here there is a decent view of the classic, parallel sided bill shape. Note also the white headed appearance, well marked nape and the pattern on the centres of the second generation scapulars. A classic Caspian Gull and well worth the dash to see it...

The remarkable mild winter continues. I received a call from Dirk Van Gainsberg late this afternoon to say he had just had a Caspian Gull at Skeppsbron. Despite the terrible light, I decided to go for it and was glad I did, with the bird being present on arrival. It was easily picked up as it was calling on occasion, the peculiar nasal quality of the call drawing attention to the bird. The light was terrible and dusk was closing in, so there was no chance of decent images, though these images of the bird at dusk are at least a little different! A really nice individual, with a clean headed apearance and classic upperparts for a bird of it's age. The second at the site this year and the first December record at the site ever.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Latest sketches; November 2018

 Grey Plover

 Common Gull

Great Black backed Gull

Little Auk

Reed Bunting

Above and Below; Whinchat