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

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Wood Warbler; Digiscoped with Panasonic GH4; 7th May 2015































A series of digiscoped images today of Wood Warbler. Looking at these photo's, one might think the bird was a real poser, this was certainly not the case! The bird was incredibly active and I spent two hours trying to get some decent images. As often as not, as soon as I got the bird in the scope and tried to slip the camera over the scope eyepiece the bird would have moved on. It was frustrating at times and I found myself wishing I had my DSLR with me, especially as the birds landed right in front of me a few times.
 As the bird sang from numerous perches I sat back and watched for a while, soon identifying a number of perches the bird used repeatedly. Eventually, despite the birds constant movements, I got few decent images. One of the better birds of summer in my opinion, I just love the song and they a tidy birds to boot.
 Over 40 Species seen today, nothing strange, though still a great morning. Best birds were Green Sandpipers on the breeding grounds, a pair of Slavonia Grebes, several Pied Flycatchers and Blackcap. All in all, a very nice morning...

Black-throated Divers; Tyresta National Park; 7th May 2015

 Black-throated Diver in summer, just about as good as it gets in my opinion. My best digiscoped shot from this morning...


 Above and below; The second bird looked a little smaller and sleeker, it also kept a little further back. Remarkably serpentine birds, perfectly appraised to life in the water...



Having spent several hours checking put the National Park from early in the morning I was most disappointed and suprised not to come across any Black-Throated Diver's on either Lake Flaten or Stensjön. These are both regular breeding sites for this species and I had never had any difficulty finding birds at either site in May before today. I was therefore thinking my luck was out and it wasn't until I got to Fatburen that my luck change. I was stopped in my tracks there by a Grey Heron that had somehow managed to catch a Tench and was trying to deal with this large fish. As I watched the Heron gave up, possibly because it was wary of my sudden appearance. All of a sudden. as if out of nowhere, a pair of Black-throated Diver appeared in the margins, ghosting up from under the water. The birds spent ten minutes fishing the area before leaving the bay, allowing a few half decent digiscopes to be taken. Quite simply put, these birds are stunning in summer garb. One of my favourite species and I will never tire of seeing them...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baltic Gull; Skeppsbron; 30th April 2015







































Baltic Gulls are the big plus at my gulling patch. They have just returned and I had a nice time watching them today. Around 16 birds were present in the area, with several birds displaying, offering wonderful photo opportunities. Wonderful birds...

Common Gulls at Skeppsbron; April 30th 2015

 Adult, almost. Note the dark line on the bill and small white tips to primaries..


 Same bird as above..


2nd Calendar year..

A few shots of Common Gulls from Skeppsbron today...

Common Tern; Stockholm City; 30th April 2015






A few flight shots from this morning, Common Gulls in Stockholm City. The newly returned birds were loafing around Skeppsbron...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Great Crested Grebe Courtship, Tyresö Slott, 28th April 2015





Spent the afternoon at Tyresö Slott in order to film some Great Crested Grebe courtship behaviour. It had been on my mind to try and capture certain events during the year with the Panasonic Gh4 and this was one of them. Great Crested Grebes were actively displaying on arrival, with lots of head shaking, nest building and mating going on. I spent a few hours filming in order to get the footage I wanted and put it together with some wonderful guitar music, which works well with the images. enjoy the video guys...

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Eagle Owl; Undisclosed Site; 8th April 2015

First located after the bird called three times before sunset, I was delighted to finally get the bird out in view in something approaching daylight...


The bird remained on the same perch for almost an hour as darkness fell and gave me crippling views and on of the best birding experiences of my lifetime. What a superb bird...





As darkness fell the bird became gradually more active...





A wing stretch for the camera...

A stunning evening with an incredible male Eagle Owl! love the years I have visited this site many, many times, often hearing the male display in spring, indeed often seeing the birds after darkness fell. One evening two years ago, John Costello and I had the male displaying just before dusk in good light and that planted the seed. Since that wonderful evening, I have had it at the back of my mind that this was one bird I really ought to make a big effort to videoscope and sound record if i could only get lucky enough to locate the bird before it was too dark. I had already done four trips this spring, with just a single calling bird to my credit this year. It was a nice evening and it was a somewhat impulsive decision to get out and have a look. I arrived in good light was was immediately met with three display hoots by the male bird. The calls came from a group of tall rees in the corner of the woodland and I didn't have to work hard at all to locate the bird as it was sitting out on an open perch, in full view! I could't believe my luck and quickly grabbed som photos as the bird proceeded to close its eyes and doze off...
 It soon became apparent the bird was not moving in the near future, over the following 70 minutes i was treated to nothing short of crippling views of one of Europe's most impressive birds. As darkness fell the bird began to get more active, looking around, wing stretching and scratching his head. Finally, he made my evening and broke into full display. I was delighted as I had my Telling Parabol set up along with the scope and camera and I was able to record all of this and get top quality audio externally. After a bit of displaying the bird floated up to the top of a nearby tree, looked around for a couple of minutes and flew right over my head. It continued to display in the darkness as I departed. This was a very special experience indeed and I felt fortunate to have witnessed such an incredible bird for such a prolonged period. The video, with externally recorded sound, has turned out really well and gives an idea of what a wonderful bird this is...


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Bewick's Swan; A day out at Norra Järvafältet; 7th April 2015

 Bewick's Swan



  Bewick's Swan with Greylag Goose, not a great deal larger than the goose...



 A head on view of the bill pattern...



  Bewick's Swan



  Bewick's Swan



  Bewick's Swan



 Lesser Black-backed Gull



 Reed Bunting in song...



 Black headed Gulls are busy getting ready for the breeding season.



 Black headed Gull, a really smart species in summer plumage...



 Adult Cormorant...



 Coot



 The Bewick's out on the short grass later in the day...



 Lapwing



 Lapwing



Green Woodpecker, a lovely male...



Displaying Black Headed Gulls



A wonderful day at Norra Järvafältet. I arrived not long after dawn and as I walked through the woods there was much birdsong and calling. A Song Thrush was my first of the year, high atop a pine, singing it's heart out. Among the common species, there were Hawfinch. I had nice views of one pair...
On arrival at 30 M Kärret I settled down and had a small group of Stock Dove straight away. Starlings were present in good numbers, another early arriving migrant here. Several Common Buzzard displaying and were very nice, as was a male Reed Bunting. Over the marsh there were some drumming Common Snipe, diving high over the displaying Lapwings. Spring had certainly arrived...
 I soon made my way to the back of the marsh and immediately connected with my main target bird, a second year Bewick's Swan. The bird gave stunning views over the next hour or so and I got some decent snaps. This is not just rare here in Sweden, it is globally endangered. This was by far my best ever views of the species and it was a pleasure to watch it in the early morning sun.
 Other birds were picked up for the first time this year. A calling Pheasant and a couple of Meadow Pipits. Back to the migration watchpoint were there were nice views of a pair of Marsh Harrier's high overhead, a deep flapping display flight by the newly returned resident pair. An Osprey then put in an appearance over the lake, before a Green Sandpiper flew in calling. Skylarks sang overhead throughout.
 I made my way to Saby later on, it was busy there. The Black headed Gull colony was busy, the noise deafening. A single Black-throated Diver graced the lake, its mournful call carrying a long way. I took it all in for a while before cutting back diagonally across the park. Nothing exceptional of note, though everywhere there were signs of spring. I took plenty of photos and video footage as I went, I was enjoying the day immensely. At Ravalen there were lots of displaying Goldeneye and two pairs of Great Crested Grebe. A Green woodpecker gave wonderful views at the end of the afternoon and I went home very content. A wonderful days birding...

Click on the video here...