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 29, 2014

Tyresta National Park, a day digiscoping with the Panasonic GH4

 


 


 


 Above, four digiscoped images of Wood Warbler from today...all ISO800


 Common Crane


A female Teal at rest at Ovre Karret...

A day out at Tyresta National Park proved rather difficult. A bank holiday meant the lakes were busy with swimmers and picnic blankets, thus the local Black throated Divers on Flaten were not to be found. I managed 50 species during the few hours I wandered around and spent some time with a lovely displaying Wood Warbler. Eventually i got some shots of the bird..
 At the marshland area at Ovre Karret I had distant views of breeding Common Crane, Whooper Swan, Teal, Goldeneye. Common Swifts were here in numbers and I spent some time watching them peform stunning aerial manouveres, often whizzing past my head. Othe nice birds included displaying Pied Flycatchers, Red backed shrike, Garden Warbker, Blackcap, Coal Tit, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Common Buzzard, Siskin, Hawfinch and others. as with recent Days it was very windy indeed, this has not helped birding in general, due to cold tempertures. I am looking forward to finding some coperative avian subjects, in order to really put the GH4 through its paces.
 So far I am very, very impressed with the camera. I am begining to get my head around the still images, with better conditions I Think the camera really will shine...

Selected bird species seen on the day...
Willow Warbler 11, Treecreeper 2, Garden Warbler 4, Blackcap 11, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1, Jay, Common Tern, Pied Flyctcher 5, Redwing 2, Coal Tit 3, Red backed Shrike 1, Crossbill 5, Wood Warbler 1, Bullfinch 1, Teal 6, Swift 75, Goldeneye 8, Slavonian Grebe, Crane 2, Whooper Swan 2, Hawfinch, Green Sandpiper 1, Green Woodpecker 1, Lesser Whitethroat 2.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fysingen, Red-necked Phalarope and Broad-billed Sandpipers, 28th May 2014







Above, record shots of Red-necked Phalarope...

My first visit to Fysingen in a very long time, too long in fact. This is a truly wonderful birding site and it was great to be back. On arrival I headed straight for where I knew the main attraction had been seen earlier in the morning, a Red-necked Phalarope. Locals had the bird lined up and it was that simple, I was finally looking at my first Red-necked Phalarope. How this species has managed to elude me for so long is something of a mystery to me, I have dipped quite a few and just never come across one whilst in the field. It was worth the wait though, I had glorious views of what is probably a female bird. It was a Little distant for photos, though the reach given to me by way of digiscoping was invaluable on this occasion. I watched the bird feeding in the same small area for an hour Before moving on.
 There was more to come though. After setting up over Srtoms Mad I had a fine male Garganey fly past, very nice. A mixed colont of Black/headed Gulls and Common Terns was busy incubating their cluthes of eggs, whilst breeding Lapwing, Shoveler, Gadwall and Redshank were all present. Two pairs of Little--ringed Plover were also nice to view, whilst a stunning pair of Marsh Harriers gave fantastic scope views. An Osprey put in an appearance briefly, whilst a Citrine Wagtail was heard call, but not seen. The species is breeding at the site, a rare occurence in Sweden. After some time I clocked three small waders flying in and as they landed I got the scope on them. I was delighted to behold three cracking Broad-billed Sandpipers! The birds were in view for a few minutes, before they dissapeared into low grasses and were lost from view.
 Later I made my way to the tower and checked the hundreds of hirundines and Swifts low over the lake. A Great Reed Warbler sang close by but was not in view. Sedge Warblers and a few Reed Warblers were also noted, whilst Thrush Nightingale song boomed from the thickets. I headed off from aholmen after a great day, I will not be waiting too long to return to this site again...

Click on the link below for record video of the Phalarope...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs1cmsNAehw&feature=youtu.be

Click on the link below for Osprey video taken today..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewHz4_ZozhE&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sandemar, 25th May 2014

Marsh Warbler, a record shot of a singing male which was largely obscured by reed...


Red backed Shrike, one of four birds noted, with one pair now nest building....


 
Common Rosefinch, a dull 2nd calender male in song....

A very nice morning out at the site. I was accompanied by Rob Roberts for the morning who was looking for Icterine Warbler and Common Rosefinch and they would not dissapoint. On arrival there was a cacophony of birdsong. Red backed Shrikes were instantly on view, a familiar pair to me by now, at Pottan. Moving on we had to try and drown out the numerous singing Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Robin, Wren and others in order to pick out the better birds. Thrush Nightingales were belting out their song from the thickets, whilst soon we were onto our first Icterine Warbler of the day, though it didnt show and we moved on. A short time later and we were enjoying good views of Marsh Warbler, which was very welcome. I got some decent record shots and video of this amazing songster before a distant Common Rosefinch sounded and we went after the bird. It was quickly located, though proved to be a second calender male rather than an adult, still it was a tick for Rob. On the way over we had a couple more Icterine Warblers, one of which gave good views through the scope, so mission was accomplished as regards the two target species. A little later we doubled back after a calling Corn Crake, missing it and then came acroos a second bird at the horse track! Other highlights would include a pair of Caspian Tern, Temmincks Stint, 2 Cuckoo, 4 White tailed Eagle and no less than 8 Icterine Warbler. Throughout the morning we had excelent views of several species, before the sweltering heat saw us heading off at noon.

click on the link below to see record footage of singing Marsh Warbler...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhnSB2He61M&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pied Flycatcher, male in display at Dammtorp

 
 
A Pied Flycatcher singing its heart out mid afternoon at Dammtorp...

Though I Went there to photograph Wood Warbler I couldnt resist spendeding an hour on a cracking Little cock Pied Flycatcher that was very busily displaying in the same area. It was difficult to get a video, though in the end I got both a decent still image and a video, which can be viewed at the link below...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZuy_u1D2TQ&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A&index=2

Digiscoping with Panasonic GH4, Wood Warbler





















Digiscoped shots here from today at Dammtorp, where I Went in order to try and digiscope Wood Warblers. The site Always has a few pairs at this time of the year and I found a couple of displaying males easily enough by whistling their call. One bird proved to be an excellent model, though it was incredibly Active and I only managed to get focus on two occasions with the camera mounted, burst mode was enabled on the GH4, which enabled the shots above. The camera had to be set on high ISO1600, due to the darknes under the canopy, the camera handled it very well. The high ISO allowed me to get up to  an 800th of a second with the shutter, enough to freeze the action. Wonderful Little birds, had hoped to get some video, though they were too restless today..

 

Digiscoping with Panasonic Lumix GH4






















 

On a trip to Sandemar reserve my intention was to concentrate on getting some digiscoped images with the Panasonic GH4. As usual I was using my Swarovski ATX95 scope and the Swarovski TLS Adaptor. The light was very bright, strong sunlight all through the visit. I was also very humid and heavy and there was a softening effect through the scope, especially at distance.
 After some time taking a few videos of newly returned Wryneck, I made my way to an area called Pottan, where I knew a male Red Backed Shrike had taken up terrritory. On arrival he was present, along with a newly arrived female, both of which were based in a large Whitethorn bush, which was in full Blossom and made a nice backdrop. I sat around 35 metres back from the bush and waited and soon both birds were giving good views as they hunted large insects from the bush. I set the camera on manual setting, ISO800 and 800th second shutter speed. The images came out as are here, just a tiny bit of sharpening and no other photoshopping. For my first real effort they have come out quite well. In ideal light and once my knowledge of the camera improves I foresee this combination producing some excellent shots. It will, no doubt, be invaluable for record shots over greater ranges than my DSLR can handle....

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Videoscoping with Panasonic GH4

Yesterday was my first day out with the Panasonic Lumix GH4. I was kken to get some video footage, though the light was bad on the day. I decided it would be a good day to test out the camera in dull conditions. I set the canera video mode to Cine D and shot on MP4 as I do not possess a powerful enough computer as yet to deal with 4K footage. I am attach the GH4 to a Swarovski AX 95 scope by means of a Swarovski TLS Adaptor..

Here is some footage of a Slavonian Grebe at around 30 metres at 30x Magnification. Click on 1080p for best resolution available, though youtube has seriously downgraded this footage...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4MSCfCZUq0&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A


A little more distant here, a Redshank on 50x magnification. at around 60 metres distance. Again dull light and the focus was slightly off..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMd0TxC9_Vo&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A

Here. a little further away at around 70 metres is a feeding Wheatear, on 65x magnification. I wanted to push the range in bad light and up the magnification in order to see how the setup would cope for getting record footage of distant birds. Bear in mind the light is bad whilst filming and I am still unfamiliar with the camera..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f1hFfpcz0s&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A

Finally a close up on 50x of the earlier Slavonian Grebe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvWcMhCVeDs&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A


More thoughts and videos to come in the near future..

Sandemar, 13th May 2014, Blogbirders 1000th Post

 Slavonian Grebe at  30 metres at 40x manification gives a good indication of what this setup can preoduce easily...

 Whichat at 50 metres on 50x magnification...

 Common Snipe at 60 metres here,,,

 Redshank at about 60 metres range

Red Backed Shrike at 75 metres away..

A very nice morning birding at Sandemar reserve started early. I arrived at 7.00am and hoped to locate the rather devisive large pipit that has been at the site the past two Days, a Blyths or Richards. It was not present unfortunatly and after a lot of searching I settled into the birding. Several species were my first of the year. A stunning male Red Backed Shrike came early on and was a wonderful sight. Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Thrush Nightingale, at least 2 Wryneck, 2 Temmincks Stint, Whinchat, Spotted Redshank and a Swift were all my first of 2014. Even better still was a Black Tailed Godwit which is quite a rarity around Stockholm, I got the news out and the bird was seen by several birders as it stayed in the area. Snipe, Redshank, Wheatear, 19 Yellow Wagtails came later on, amongst more expected common species. Summer is rapidly approaching and migrants are now flooding in...
 The day was notable for being my first day out with my new Panasonic Lumix GH4, which I was digiscoping with by means of a Swarovski TLS adaptor. Initial results appear very good, as most birds were very distant and reasonable results were acheived despite my unfamiliarity with the camera. i will post more soon on the camera and Review it with regard to digiscoping and video scoping, the latter being foremost in my mind when getting the camera. A steep learning curve lies ahead. though the camera excites me greatly I must say..
 This is something of a landmark post for the blog, being the 1000th post to date. I never thought that it would take on such a long lifespan when I started it, I just want to acknowledge all those who drop by the site and thank everyone for the comments and follows. The blog has had more than 350,000 hits to date, a figure which is quite amazing to me...