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, November 26, 2009

Skeppsbrön; 26th November 2009

Lesser Black Backed Gull, Fuscus; 1st Calender Year.

Slussen at dusk...

Dropped by Skeppsbrön in the hope of an interesting gull, proved to be rather quiet, with about 25 Herring Gulls, 5 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, 4 Common Gulls. 12 Black-headed Gulls present. The light was rather poor in the evening, just managed one decent shot, posted above. Interesting to note some new individual gulls present, would be nice to turn up something unusual at the site over the coming winter...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Kingfisher; Tyresö Slott; 9th November 2009

A trip to the slott today to see the Kingfisher which is present at the site. Really dull conditions were not good for photography, the bird proving a bit elusive and dificult to approach, managed a record shot all the same. A nice bonus came in the form of 8 Bearded Tit in the reedbeds at Nottholmen, views brief and distant, though the birds were very vocal indeed. 2 Raven and 60 Siskin also noted, as well as 3 Common Crossbill and 5 Hawfinch, all in all, a very nice mornings birding!

Monday, November 02, 2009

A "Yellow Legged" Argentatus Gull; Skeppsbrön; 2nd November 2009

Yellow Legged Gull? Note the rather clean head with markings more or less restricted to the nape. The most important features visible in this shot are the primries, note subterminal mirrors on P9 and P10. in addition the complete, unbroken subterminal band on P5 across both inner and outer webs of the feather should clinch identification?

A flight view showing the upperside. P9 and P10 are again well displayed in this shot. The yellowish legs obvious here, though leg colour is far from diagnostic, a small number of argentatus also show yellowish legs.
Another good shot of the upperside of the bird....


At rest on the water, this is how the bird was first seen, initially the very clean head in comparison to all of the adult Argentatus present drew my attention. Comparison of the primary projection with nearbly Argentatus really led to me sitting up to pay full attention, the mirrors on this bird appearing noticably smaller than those of the adult Argentatus close by. The orbital ring is yellowish in colour. Bill fairly long and parallel sided in appearance...

... a three quarter rear view, the bird spent all of it's time tday on or above the water and did not come to land. Came readily to bread, always bring a loaf with you when Gull watching!

A useful shot of the bird lifting its wings up over its back which allows P5 to be seen...

Detail of the primaries. P9 and 10 clearly showing subterminal mirrors...

Primary detail, note P5 again, dark subterminal bands visible on both inner and outer webs of the feather...



Went to Skeppsbrön today on a routine check of the gulls there and was there from 2pm. or so photographing and sketching the birds present, namely Argentatus Herring(45) and Fuscus Lesser Black Backed Gull(5). Glancing through the birds with binoculars I was immediatly struck by the clean headed appearance of a resting adult bird on the water, comparisons with adults nearby set alarm bells off, primaries clearly attenuated, but most of all it was the obviously smaller mirrors on the primaries that really got my attention. I got a few good photos of the bird at this point before proceeding to the loaf of bread! In went the bread, which had initially helped put all the birds in the area right in front of me, and into flight went the bird, which competed gamely with the local gulls and allowed me to get some really useful shots of the bird in flight, which helped clinch the identification. Spent about 90 minutes watching the bird, which was still present when I left,Rushed home, got the pictures on the monitor and did a little research on the features, waiting on views of more expert birders on this bird...

Edit; The bird has been confirmed as a yellow legged Argentatus Herring Gull, which was something of a disapointment, but nevertheless a very educational bird which will benifit me in the future. A Yellow Legged Gull should in fact show a much broader subterminal band on P5 and display a red and not yellowish orbital ring. Also the primaries ought to show more dark from P6-P10. A link here to an excellent shot recomended to me to highlight the difference on P5...

Gulls; Skeppsbrön; 2nd November 2009

Argentatus Herring Gulls. Note the adult, second from the left has yellowish legs.

A 1st Calender Argentatus on the deck at Skeppsbrön.

1st Calender Argentatus in flight...

2nd Calender Argentatus Herring Gull

Adult Argentatus Herring Gull. Compare the apparent size of the mirrors and the primary projection on this individual to the featured gull in the above post...

1st Calender Herring Gull

1st Calender Herring Gull.

Adult Argentatus in Flight..


Some photos of gulls taken today at Skeppsbrön before finding the gull in the above post. About 45 Argentatus Herring Gulls, 5 Fuscus Lesser Black Backed Gulls present today, plan to watch this site very closely this winter...