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

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Common Gull with pale iris; Norra Mallarstrand; Stockholm; 21st January 2017



















After three winters of checking through Common Gulls in Stockholm, finally I registered a bird with some potential today. I had been onsite for around an hour when I picked up this individual and was immediately struck by its pale iris, blight legs and bill. The bird was initially seen on the water and readily came to bread. After rattling off some photos I coaxed it into the air with bread an was again struck by the extensive dark on the primaries. I watched the bird closely for two more hours, getting some excellent photos and making notes. The more I watched. some doubts started to creep in. The streaking on the crown was a worry, and I felt that the dark on P8 didn't reach all the way to the primary covert's. A mirror on P8 was also a niggling doubt. More research is need on this bird and I will return to comment further when I am more informed..

Common Gull; Adult Plumage; Stockholm; 21st January 2017























A selection of images of adult Common Gulls from Stockholm today. I spent the day grilling these birds and was struck by their variability. As always with gulls, as soon as you start to look carefully, much variation soon raises it's head. Wonderful to observe good numbers of these birds today after combing the city yesterday looking for gulls, when I came across these birds near dusk. I returned today in order to look through them...

Common Gull; 3rd Calender Year; Stockholm; 21st January 2017




A couple of images of a second cycle Common Gull, now in it's third calender year. This was the only bird in this agegroup present at the site today...

Common Gulls; 2nd Calender Year; Stockholm; 20th January 2017
























A selection of images here of Common Gulls in their second calender year. These birds were all born in 2016 and are now going through their first winter. I was delighted to locate good numners of these birds yesterday and returned today in good light in order to look through these birds. The site was Norra Malarstrand, at the west end, were a few hundred gulls were gathered on the ice and regularily being fed at the park there by visiting people. Mutes Swans were keeping a small area clear of ice and this seems to have led to a build up in numbers. It was difficult to say how many Common Gulls were onsite, but there was a minimum of 25 birds present. Around 100 Herring Gull and 300 black headed Gull were also present at the site...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Utö; 24th October 2016

 Mealy Redpolls; Plenty of these small finches around the island today...



 Redwing; Small numbers of these cracking thrushes were feeding on the deck today, though many more went overhead calling during the day...



Common blackbird. Astonishing numbers present on the island today, the majority of them were 1st calender birds like this male...

There has been a quite amazing influx of Siberian Accentors happening these past few weeks, with now upwards of 140 of these eastern vagrants now recorded around Europe, with Sweden taking the lions share, with 54 records to date as I write. Until the past few days, many of these have been quite distant from Stockholm, or on far flung islands on the archipelago. This, however, changed on the 22nd October, when two individuals were found on the more accessible islands of Landsort and Utö respectively. The 23rd of October saw me arrive on the island of Landsort in the hope of connection with the bird seen there the previous day. The bird, however, was not seen on the day. Given the appalling weather, it seemed a little unlikely that the bird had moved on. It had very possibly succumbed overnight, as reports told of a very tired bird, feeding at observers feet up until dusk. In any case, I had to make do with a Ring Ouzel at the south end of the island and a nice flock of migrating Dark bellied Brent Geese in off the sea as highlights. There were masses of Robins on the island, a huge fall of birds, which were everywhere. I also logged many Wren, Chaffinch and Brambling there before the ferry departed, carrying around 30 deflated birder's back to the mainland.
 As the second individual was reported present on the 23rd, I decided to head out to the island of Utö on Monday 24th October in the hope of connecting, again I was thwarted. The bird was present on a military area to the south end of the island. On this particular day, the sound of gunfire and mortar rounds told me there would be no access. A quick chat with a friendly member of military personel confirmed this. Live rounds were being used and I reflected that even a Siberian Accentor is not worth being shot for. I decided to cut my losses and try and find something good whilst I was on the island. There were an astonishing amount of Blackbirds present. They were everywhere it seemed, and though my notes totalled 500 individuals, the reality was that I covered only a small section of this large island and there must of been many thousands of birds present. Most were 1st Calender birds and they were the main feature of the day, along with another species, Robin. Like the previous day on Landsort, they were everywhere, no doubt deposited on the easterly winds and light rain overnight. Again, my notes contained 350 birds, a mere percentage of those present. The fact that so many common migrants were present led to the feeling there might well be something rare around, even at this late date. I was feeling good, and migrants were picked up throughout the day. Small groups of Skylark were flushed, along with Meadow Pipits. Overhead, Redwing, Song Thrush and Fieldfares were moving, filling the skies with their calls. A Chiffchaff worked its way along the bushes by the roadside, the first of four individuals. The second one appeared in some low cover by the woods, a striking pale bird, with a diffuse super over the eye and bright green fringes to the remiges and tail. This looked every bit like a 'tristis' type, though it was mobile and I lost it within three minutes as if moved through the woods. It remained silent and therefore I could not be sure...
 Goldcrests were picked up here and there as I walked along the road to Gruvbyn. On arrival at the village there were Blackbirds everywhere, along with many Redwing. I had a few hours left before the ferry and the area around the harbour was scoured in that time. There is excellent habitat here and I was hopeful of something good. In the end, the best was a Great Grey Shrike and a flock of 12 Twite. Further excitement was provided by two skulking Dunnock which were kicked out of the weeds, all the while I dreamt of flushing one of their rarer eastern cousins. In the end, the day was highly enjoyable, nothwithstanding the disappointment of not being able to access the site I wanted to. I told myself I may yet get another bite at this particular cherry. Time will tell...

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Birding at Ågesta; 16th May 2016



 A female Goldeneye guards a single remaining duckling, the rest were absent and probably predated.



A Sedge Warbler takes a break from singing...

A brief morning visit to Ågesta was very enjoyable despite the fact there was nothing unusual around. There was plenty to enjoy however. After carefully checking the damp area near the road for Jack Snipe and other waders I managed a few Wood Sandpipers in the long grasses as well as Lapwing and a single Common Snipe.
 Barn Swallow and House Martin were busy nest building around the barns, whilst a couple of Common swift over the lake were my first of the year. From the observation tower there was a single Slavonian Grebe, Common Pochard, Goldeneye with young, Sedge Warbler, Western Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Water Rail, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Lapwing, Coot, Gadwall and other common species. 
I checked through the gulls carefully at the colony and was dissapointed that Caspin Tern were not present. I moved on, enjoying views of Sedge Warbler in song flight, Common Whitethroat in display and Red Warbler in song. At the pumphouse there were more Wood Sandpipers, a pair of displaying Common Crane, Common Buzzard, Moorhen, Common Snipe, Redshank and a Goshawk. A Cuckoo have brief views as it moved through the woodland calling. I took some mor video footage as I went and later edited the mornings footage. A nice relaxing morning on this wonderful reserve...


Kingfisher; Tyresö Slott; January 2016


Finally got around to editing some nice footage of this wonderful female Common Kingfisher from Tyresö Slott. The bird was present at Follbrinkstrommen during a deep freeze and was a real star. I popped out to see the bird on seeing that it was approachable and managed my best video footage of this stunning species to date. Kingfishers are a very scarce species arround Stockholm due to the cold winters and it was very nice to see this bird at this site, which is a favourite place of mine...


As always, the footage is best viewed in the highest definition your computer can handle, this is available in 4K.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Common Gulls; Luxparken; Stockholm City; 18th Febuary 2016

2nd Calender Common Gull


2nd Calender Common Gull


2nd Calender Common Gull


2nd Calender Common Gull


2nd Calender Common Gull


3rd Calender Common Gull


3rd Calender Common Gull


3rd Calender Common Gull


3rd Calender Common Gull


3rd Calender Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull


Adult Common Gull

Images here of Common Gull ay Luxparken...