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, April 21, 2014

Slavovian Grebes; Best photos from a morning photography session at Marsta









Slavonian Grebes; Marsta; 21st April 2014

Nest building
The birds were unconcerned with my presence and totally preoccupied with sorting out nesting sites...
Above and below; Stunning in summer plumage...
Right in front of the lens in glorious light...
Threat Posture; Adopted just before launching a physical attack on a rival pair..
A nice head on view...

A typical pose, often portrayed...

One of four pairs present at the site...

This pair had not yet secured a nest site and were repeatedly trying to oust a pair which had occupied a prime nest site. Attacks were very violent and carried out repeatedly...
On the top lake a single bird was unpaired and seemingly content, possibly waiting for the return of it's mate...
These birds have such a wide variety of poses and the ability to change shape constantly, one of the reasons they are easily watched for long periods. A fascinating day today...

Slavonian Grebes; Territorial disputes; Marsta; 21st Aprril 2014













Launching into full attack mode....

A stunning experience this morning observing early season slavonian Grebes disputing nest sites on their return. The stakes are high when it comes to securing a good nest site and the level of aggression reflected this. The birds were constantly attacking a pair in prime territory in order to take a small patch of reeds for themselves, by far the best nest site on the small lake. These repeated attacks allowed me to get some remarkable images of a normally rather placid species...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Great White Egrets; Ågesta; 10th April 2014


Jack Snipe

News that 2 Great White Egret were present at Ågesta saw me change venue from sandemar and backtrack to get to the reserve. on arrival it took some time to locate the birds, which were roosting in the reeds at the far north of the lake around a kilometre away. Scope views were sufficiently good even at this range and I was grateful of this swedish tick. Other birds included an Osprey over the lake and a good flock of Teal. I decided to check Pumphusangen carefully and after picking out several Green Sandpipers and quite a few Common Snipe my scope finally rested on a real prize, a Jack Snipe on the ground. The bird was close enough to allow me to get a decent didgiscoped image, which I was very happy to get, this being such an elusive species. The views through the scope were nothing short of stunning and I was able to show the bird to a couple of visiting birders who were delighted, it was a lifer for them. I sketched the bird for a while before moving back to the main lake, just in time to see the egrets dropping into the reedbeds at the southwest corner of the lake. Here i had excellent views through the scope, though the birds were in redd cover and it proved almost impossible to get a decent shot.

Teal
Great White Egret
Lapwing

Hjälstaviken; 4th April 2014

Eurasian White fronted Geese

A day at the reserve with John costello. arrived to the north to singing Skylark, before we immediately picked up a superb Rough legged Buzzard. Geese were everywhere at Lingbokullen too and there were a lot of eurasian White Fronted Geese present among the Taiga Bean Geese and Greylag Geese. The minimum count came to 185 birds by the end of the day, a very high total. From the tower we had 7 pairs of Pintail, a Curlew, Snipe and 15 Common Crane among the more regular species. Gadwall, Shoveler and White Tailed Eagle followed before we headed to Spangen. Here the highlight were 4 Bearded Tit and a superb male Marsh Harrier, all welcome additions to the yearlist. A superb day all round in glorious conditions. The images here were digiscoped through the Swarovski ATX 95 scope with a Nikon D90 camera body at some range...
Rough Legged Buzzard

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Caspian Plover; 1st Swedish Record; Sandasjön, Norra Mörkö; 26th March 2014
















News came yesterday whilst I was at work that a Caspian Plover had been found on Norra Mörkö. The bird was a male and I couldn't get there on the first day, cue an agonising wait overnight before setting out the next morning. The weather was bad at first light and I decided to take a chance and leave after visiting my local camera shop where I picked up a TLS APO adaptor for my scope, which would allow me to attach my nikon D90 body to the scope in order to digiscope. The bird was reported as distant most of the time and I wanted to get some reasonable record shots of the bird. News had reached me that the bird was still present as I travelled and on arrival a 20 minute dash resulted in the bird feeding in a flooded field about 80 metres away. It was everything I expected, a glorious bird and the scope  views were crippling. I just watched it for a while before eventually spendeing a little time grabbing some digiscoped shots. The I sat and sketched the bird and took in all the details, spending four and a half hours enjoying what is one of the most sought after rarities in the world, with good reason. The light improved in the afternoon and the bright rufous breast band seemed to gleam. This was a really unforgetable, tidy bird. A mythical bird really and I really never did expect to ever see one. As lifers go, this was one of the very best for me. The bird showed very well indeed all day and after getting my head around the adaptor and camera settings I got some lovely shots though my scope. What a bird...