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, October 28, 2010

Drawing with ballpoint








Fall birding

Bluethroat in a ditch...


White Wagtail Juv...

Ravens...Ågesta

Some favourite images from the autumn...

Falsterbo; 2010

Common Buzzard and Red Kite; a different silhoette entirely...



Goldcrest, everywhere over the week...

Hobby Juv...


Honey Buzzard; 1st Calender; Dark Morph



Mistle Thrush; 1st Calender



Woodlark; Never tire of drawing these....





The best of the sketchbook from Falsterbo, a place where I should of sketched moe but theres just so much going on...birds everywhere by the minute...

Gulls; Skeppsbron

Lesser Black backed Gull; 1st Calender; Light Morph; a real stunner...



Baltic Lesser Black backed Gull, adult.


Greater Black backed Gull; 2nd Calender


Argentatus Herring Gull...line drawing
Drawings here from Skeppsbron, the learning curve goes on. Large gulls are the ultimate ID challenge, learning them requires time. It has it's rewards, understanding moult and individuual variation have opened my eyes...



Great Snipe; Ågesta


Not quite right, but as I sketched it. My first in daylight, easy to see the white fringes to the primary coverts in flight.Short billed, bulky and a really different call to Common Snipe...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tyresö Slott; 26th October 2010

Dipper at Follbrinkstrommen...


Tyresö slott was the first port of call this morning and I arrived early. Birds were rather scarce as one would expect at the time of year. Siskins and Common Redpoll were noted in small numbers straight away and thoughout the visit. Blue Tit were everywhere as always, a few Blackbirds were seen and flushed, whilst Fieldfares were on the move overhead throughout. A Hawfinch brightened the morning, the bird high in the trees and betrayed itself by calling. I carefully checked the lower stream without much joy, a Grey Heron the only bird seen there. A handful of Goosander were present on the Slott, whilst the woods held a Green Woodpecker and a few Bullfinches. Nuthatch were numerous collecting beech mast and I stopped to draw them for a while. Over the bridge to Nottholmen, where a Raven flew overhead. I made my way through the trees to the reeds and waited...
It wasn't long before I heard the sound I had come for, the call of Bearded Tit. The reed exploded with their loud calls every few minutes, but it took a while to see one. After twenty minutes I had a flight view of a female/1st Winter bird. Then one appear high in the reeds briefly. After an hour the whole flock of five birds flew over the reeds on front of me and I latched on to an adult male in the binoculars for a few seconds, very nice indeed!
I headed off a while later to check the upper stream for Dippers. I had only arrived when I saw the first in the shallow rapids feeding. It flew downstream and I moved upstream to find two more at the falls, busily disputing each others presence. I watched them for 45 minutes before packing up my stuff. A glorious day in the sun with a few very nice birds seen just to cap it off nicely..

Argentatus Herring Gull; 3rd Calender; Skeppsbron; 26th October 2010

The bird here in flight showing the upperwing. The bird can be establish as a third calender due to the white tipped P5-P10, the dark markings on the primary covert's, markings on the wing covert's and the residual tail band most obviously...



The underwing in flight. note the at the legs appear dull pinkish as one might expect of Herring Gull.

The bird landing on the water. A reasonable view of the primary pattern here. Interestingly the iris still appears rather dark on this individual...


At rest on the water. This photo shows the short winged appearance of the bird, despite p10 being fully grown on the outstretched wing, which point to Herring Gull. The bill is rather yellowish towards the tip, the remainder darker, though the base is also starting to lighten...



Wing Detail.
(a) The outer primary(P10) is white tipped with a dark line separating it from a large white spot which is mainly withing the inner web of the feather, though does extend on to the outer web. The extreme outer edge of the feather is dark. The remaining visible P10 appears largely dark...
(b)The next primary inwards(p9) also his a white spot at the tip, with another smaller white spot plainly visible on the dark primary not far from the tip. Again the visible part of the feather is wholly dark, though the inner third appears greyish here...
(c)A white tip is also present on P9, with the outer third appearing dark. A dark trailing edge is noticable, as is the dark primary shaft..
(d)P7 is white tipped with a broad dark subterminal band that extends up along the outer web. There is also a whitish crescent betwenn the dark and grey..
(e)P6 is also tipped whitish, or "mirrored", with a broad dark subterminal band, which only extends along th outer web a small distance...
(f)P5 is tipped white with a rather narrow subterminal band which narrows toward the feather shaft and possibly just adjoins there




An Argentatus Herring Gull here from today, a third calender bird. I took a range of shots of this individual with a view to dissecting the plumage details here,...

Skeppsbron; 26th October 2010

A very late adult baltic Lesser Black-backed Gull. This bird should have migrated some weeks ago. Inner primaries appear new up to about p4, this bird is perhaps begining active moult now. Normally moult takes place on the winter quarter's...



A second calender Argentatus Herring in flight. Note that the iris is already pale on this bird, the timing of the iris becoming lighter is very variable in these birds. Look at the greyish mantle and scapulars, the wing coverts are also in active moult, in addition to the rather broken tail band. The primaries are old and lack the obvious white mirrors of third year birds at this time of year...

A first calender bird Argentatus Herring here showing the moult complete on the mantle and scapulars. The tertials still first generation and are typically notched. The wera on the frst year birds means that late in year one the head and neck often appear paler. First generation wing covert's are still apparent...


A check today at Skeppsbron revealed one bird I had not expected, a rather late Lesser Black-backed Gull, an adult bird as well. This bird should have left by now, but for whatever reason it has not and it was nice to see today.
Herring Gulls are still present in numbers, hav attached a few shots here with some notes....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Common Redpolls; Norra Järvafältet; 26th October 2010

A typical first year Common Redpoll. Note the streaked flanks, off white wingbar, general lack of brown or buff tones, largish bill and rather solid build....


Difficult to say with certainty whether this is an adult female or a sub adult male. Note te pink flush on the throat and upper breast. A cracking bird.

Again, a classic first year type. A well marked bird this one. The rather grey and white appearance of the bird is typical. Lesser Redpoll occurs in small numbers in the area, these birds show browninsh tones in the plumage and variable buff coloration, often most noticable around the ear covert's, nape and throat. Size in both species is variable, though in general Lesser Redpoll appears smaller than Common and of daintier build...


Having spent the day around Barkarby I had a wander about 30M Kärret without seeing a whole lot. I walked back for the bus late in the afternoon and was delighted to find a large flock of 160 Common Redpoll fedding close to the feeding station on seed low down. The birds eventually proved approachable and I managed some nice shots in light that was a little difficult....

Barkarby/Norra Järvafältet; 26th October 2010

Adult Goshawk



Autumn colours seem to be the perfect backdrop for Yellowhammer...


Common Redpoll flock


A Blue Tit extracts a meal from sunflowers...



Autumn leaves...
A day out at Barkarby today, just beside the airstrip. I was saddened to see building has progressed rapidly to the south of this site, much has been lost of what was a superb area for Redpolls and Twite in winter, as well as passage migrants. An Isabelline Wheatear graced this same area a year ago. Apartment blocks and a retirement home now stand in the area and a lot of the seed producing plants are no more.
I moved off to the south and was heartened slightly to find a large planted area of sunflowers just to the south, which I would guess were planted for the birds by the excellent Norra Järvafältet group in response to the disappering habitat just to the south. A lot of birds had been attracted by the sunflowers rich yield of seeds. Yellowhammers were fairly abundant and were flushed as I went. A highlight was an adult male Goshawk in the trees to the west which gave me a lovely view through the scope for five minutes. A flock of Common Redpoll provided interest, up to 100 birds were carefully scrutinized for Arctic Redpoll, alas no joy today. Chaffinch, Greenfinch and a single Twite were also noted before I headed off. A Black Woodpecker was nice flying overhead calling, a typical view of this wonderful bird.
I spent a couple of hours at the site sketching Redpolls on a rather glorious sunny autumn afternoon, it won't be too long until the big freeze comes and it was very nice to sit out drawing for a while...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Skeppsholm; 5th October 2010


Herring Gull 1st Calender; A remarkably dark individual. The darkest bird in this age group seen at the site in two years. A small percentage show dark coloration. Greater covert pattern of interest, not typical piano key notching as on would expect in Argentatus.


The same bird again. Note the new second generation scapulars, classic Herring Gull pattern, if a little dark. The areas on the head, breast and flanks very dark, a coffee brown tone. The bill is rather small and the legs appear short, possibly a female bird.

A pristine light morph fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull, a first calender bird. Three were present at the site today. Notably it seems all the adult birds have left in the last week, none noted today...


A second calender Argentatus Herring Gull, a pale bird. Lots of photos taken today of Herring Gull in many age groups, the photos have been uploaded and added to my reference albums which can be found in the margin of the blog...
Back to Skeppsbron today after nine days away from Stockholm, nice to be back. Just under 70 Herring Gull present, including several new birds. Nothing rare today, but a few birds of interest, all photographed.