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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Four Spotted Chaser(Libellulum quadrimaculata)

The best shot of the day...







Another point blank encounter...




Detail of the inner wing markings....

A small shallow pool with stagnant water and some reed growth was all it was and there were a lot of dragonflies in attendance, all were Four Spotted Chaser(Libellulum quadrimaculata). The first time I have positively identified the species, though no doubt I have come accross them before without knowing what they were. About 20 individuals counted as they duelled in the air above and through the reed. One female was seen ovipositing, guarded fiercely by a male as she did so. In the end I got a few great images of the species, found it was best to wait at a favoured perch and let the insect come to the camera as they were very difficult to stalk, as is often the case with odonata due to their excellent eyesight...




Odonata; Tyresta N.P.; June 2011

 Ishnura elegans, mating wheel.....




 Imm. male Common Bluet




Black Darter

A few images taken of commoner species taken in the past few days at Tyresta National Park....


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Red Eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas); Tyresta National Park

 Red Eyed Damselfly, what a stunning beast it is too. Very nice indeed to ge this in front of the lens at close range today.




 Difficult more me to say wheteher this is a female or an immature male, both appear simular. A rather large damselfly...




Abdomen in focus in this one. Note the eye colour. Looking forward to adult males in the near future!


Theres a small lake in Tyresta that I went to have a look at and on arrival it was full of odonata, soon I located Red Eyed Damselflies close to the sides and they proceded to give themselves up for the camera in wonderful light. Happy days.

Broad Bodied Chaser(Libellula depressa); Kungsängen

 An immature male Broad Bodied Chaser Libellula depressa, newly emerged. The first flights are unsteady and this was very approachable, an impressive, large odonate. Easily identified by the huge flattened adomen which will eventually turn cobalt blue...




A close up of the face...

Images here of an immature Libellula depressa or Broad Bodied Chaser...

Lesser Marbled Fritillary; Kungsängen; June 2011

 My first view, not difficult to notice and obviously a small, bright fritillary species...




 Rather intent of feeding and approachable, allowing this shot of the upperwing,




The underwing, very beautiful indeed and seales the id of this new species for me...

Images here of this stunning little lifer, seen briefly feeding on thistles early in the day before I got a second chance at the same place later and managed some decent images.

Green Underside Blue; Kungsängen; June 2011

 Upperparts. Brown upper with small blue flush at a bases and on the body...




The underwing provides the best aid to identification and is clearly different to that of Common Blue. Note the greenish flush at the wing bases...

Images here of my first Green Underside Blue. I have been paying attention to blue butterflies this year and a result today. Not an uncommon species, but unless you look closely...


Ringlet; Kungsängen; June 2011






A few images here of Ringlet. Very common here at the moment in grassy areas at the moment...

Butterflies; Kungsängen; June 2011

 Common Blue




 Common Blue




 Large Skipper




Pearly Heath

Plenty of butterflies about now and the hot weather today meant a lot were seen, though often where very active and difficult to photograph. Ringlet, Small Copper and Pearly Heath were abundant in the long grasses at the site. Where stands of wildflowers wer found other species could be found feeding, my first Green Underside Blue and Lesser Marbled Fritillary were the highlights. Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Large Skipper were also noted...


Monday, June 27, 2011

Brilliant Emerald(Somatochlora metallica); Kungsängen; June 2011

 Brilliant Emerald in flight, delighted with the shots I got of these superb little odonata today, which I initially misidentified as Cordulia aenea. A new species for me....






 Another sharp shot. All taken with manual focus on the sigma 150mm.






 Head on, note the diagnostic facial pattern, the yellow spots on the frons forming a bar...






 A few of the shots into the sun were really overexposed, though sharp. I had increased the shutter speed by moving way back to f4 from f11, nearly deleted it, but now rather like it as an image...






 Another flight shot as it hunted right in front of me...




One more from the overexposed f4 camp....

At Kungsängen for a few hours before worked, lots of butterflies and odonata around which was the objective and I happened upon a tiny stream with two male Brilliant Emeralds (Somatochlora metallica)hunting along its tiny length. I spent an hour getting these shots, difficult with manual focus, but the results were great and I'm well chuffed to have flight images of these little crackers. Amazing to watch them feed, their eyesight is very acute as they can see very small flying insect from some range, often making sudden detours straight up in the air of up to ten metres. Initially I thought these to be Cordulia aenea, many thanks to Phil Benstead(http://birding-benstead.blogspot.com/) for alerting me to their correct identity and the fact that I had in fact just had a tick!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pearly Heath; Broangarna

 Pearly Heath; note the diagnostic white area on the undeside of the hindwing.....




Pearly Heath; a lifer for me today..

Images here of Pearly Heath, I saw at least four of these today, one of which finally gave itself up in the last rays of evening sun, basking at right angles to the sun as it did so. The species is found in central and southern Europe, in Sweden in the south and as far north as Uppland. It is not present in the British Isles. It spends the winter as a cterpillar underground and emerges to fly and breed for June-September.

Red Eyed Damselfly (Erythromma najas); Broangarna

Red Eyed Damselfly Erythromma najas

Apologies for the quality of the photograph, but this was my first time seeing the species and it was in a difficult location up in the branches, so I grabbed a record shot at 500mm on the sigma. One of two females seen today. A rather large damsel this, rather green in appearance. The reddish brown eyes are apparent even in this shot, and are the species main feature, hence the name. A very good site for Odanata and I will return for a better look around soon...

Variable Damselflies; Broangarna

 Male Variable Damselfly; The first time I have got a decent shot of a male of this species. Note the slim abdomen, large amounts of black on S6-S8 and the "Y" shaped dark mark on S2.






Female Variable Damselfly



A couple of images here of Variable Damselfly from Broangarna. Commonplace at the site and took a few minutes out of birding to grab a few images...


Moths; Broangarna



Chiasmia clathrata; Latticed Heath


Chiasmia clathrata, Latticed Heath

Xanthorhoe montanata 

Two species of day flying moth from Broangarna today.


Broangarna; 15th June 2011

 Grey Heron




 Common Tern




 Osprey




 Skylark




Willow Warbler

An evening out at Broangarna with John Costello was enjoyable to sat the least. Arriving at the area it became apparent that insects were everywhere. Birds were noted though as we made our way to the observation tower, with Lapwing, Skylark, Kestrel, Common Buzzard, Yellow Wagtail and a host of common species.
 The observation tower held the first surprise of the day, a singing Grasshopper Warbler, a swedish tick for me and most welcome. Common Tern and Osprey fished over the lake, whilst Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting sang from the reeds. Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Grey Heron were also seen at this point.
 Onwards through the area to a group of trees where we eventually found the birds we came for, three recently fledged Long Eared Owls. We enjoyed flight views of these birds before calling it a night, many thanks to John for showing me aroung the area...



Thursday, June 09, 2011

Common Bluetail; (Ischnura elegans), Ängsö

 Ishnura elagans male in the act of eating another damselfly, possibly an immature of its own species. I was photographing this male went it suddenly pounced. Before long it begun to eat the other insect, a fascinating insight into behaviour...


The best shot of the day. An adult female Common Bluetail. Today was the first time I identified this species, though undoubtedly I had come across it before, the species is common. Ängsö was teeming with them today and that gave me great opportunities to photograph this delicate damselfly...


 An adult male. Note the slender abdomen, all blue S8 taillight, bronzed bands on the abdomen and the blue antihumeral stripes...


 A female this time...


 Another close up of a female...


 The same confiding individual again...


 One last extreme close oup of the green goggles!


An adult male at rest...

A new damselfly for me today and a great selection of good photos taken too, all in all happy days. Also had two Downy Emeralds, which were my first, as well as a couple of unidentified dragonflies which may well off been Small Pincertail...I'll be back in July!


Common Blue Butterfly; Ängsö

 I really like this image for some reason, the butterflies stunning underwing seems to be reflected in the tones of the rock...


A view of the upperwing here...

A couple of images on Common Blue Butterfly here, quite a lot of them on the island. I also spent a while chasing a smaller blue species to no avail with a very intensely blue upperwing...