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 04, 2014

From Greenish Warbler to Erstavik, 4th June 2014

 


 Three images above are of Little Ringed Plover which I came across and managed to digiscope at Estavik, on the strand. A superb little wader and one of two seen on the day...
 
 
 This species is always welcome as far as I am concerned. One of Three Black-throated Divers that were loafing offshore at Erstavik. The GH4 proved invaluable here, without digiscoping these birds were not going to be photographed, their range being simply to great for my DSLR setup...


 


A couple more images of a very obliging Little Ringed Plover....

This was a day of unplanned good fortitude. I had originally decided to take a day out to go fishing, though this was cancelled after I heard that a Greenish Warbler had been found in central Stockholm. not a ten minute walk from my from door! Naturally, with such a good bird so close, everything was dropped and I walked down to the church grounds where the bird was reported. It was singing from high up in the canopy in some very tall Lime trees, a rather distinctive song. A small group of birders had gathered by this stage and I moved away from the group to get a different angle into the trees. After five minutes I picked the bird up moving very quickly through the mid canopy feeding and alerted the rest of the gathered birders. The bird gave good views and all the salient features could be seen quite well, including a very good wingbar on the greater coverts, prominent supercilium and silky underparts. The bird was still singing when I left, happy with myself at this swedish tick...
 I decided to stay with the birding and on the spur of the moment decided upon a trip to Tyreso Strand, a site I had not visited for some years. On arrival I made my way north along the Baltic coast, through the woods, where Tree Pipits, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and other commoner species were singing. Out on the water, a pair of Black-throated Divers were noted, much closer to the far side of the large bay. I worked my way through the woods to Erstavik, locating a lovely Little Ringed Plover along the way, which showed really well for the camera. A Common Candpiper, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and a cracking male Hobby followed these, the latter trying its luck at some Starlings on its way through at high speed. Estavik itself was a little dissapointing and I made my way northwards again along the other side of the bay were I had good views of three Black-throated Divers, though they were around 100 metres away at their closest, the GH4 proved up to the job. The birds made excellent video test subjects and I eventually sat back and enjoyed these fabulous birds through the scope. I combed the woods here too for Red Breasted flycatcher, alas no joy. Pied Flycatchers were in evidence, singing away in the woods, a couple of nest sites were located. A male Red Backed Shrike dived into a bush in front of me, Lesser Whitethroat and Wryneck were heard singing, whilst an Osprey floated past. I made my way through the nature reserve and onto the Tvarbana, a small train, which left me back in Slussen after a circuititious walk that was highly enjoyable, a fantastic day out...

 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Isbladkarret, 3rd June 2014

 A pair of newly hatched Coot being fed by their mother...


 Male Lapwing


Juvenile Grey Heron

A visit to Isbladkarret and the surrounding area today was in order. I walked around for sometime listening to songbirds in the hope of a Blyths Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler or even River Warbler to no avail. All three species are now moving through and it is a great time to find these birds. At the wetland itself the Grey Heronry was really busy, a lot of noise and activity, with many birds already fledged. A pair of Slavonian Grebe were noted and the nest was found, one of the birds sitting tight on eggs in the rushes. Gadwall, Goldeneye, Mallard, Coot and Tufted Duck were all present in a breeding capacity, as were a pair of Lapwing. A Moorhen was noteworthy, an uncommon bird here in Stockholm. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Pied flycatcher and Willow Warbler were all noted in song. Overhead there were lots of Swift and Swallows feeding and these were carefully checked.  Although this site is very Close to the ciry there is rarity potential here, especially on passage and the site is always worth a visit.

Here is a slow motion capture of a Coot feeding two newly hatched Young..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmvM1JXPGvc&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A
 

Shooting slow motion video with the Panasonic GH4

One of the really nice features on the Panasonic GH4 is Variable Frame Rate. This is available on MP4 mode in 100mbs and offers shooting between 2fps and 96fps when the Variable Frame Rate is enabled. I have been shooting at 96fps, which offers one quarter speed slow motion and lends to some very nice video and the chance to slow things down dramatically. Here are a few examples of test video slow motion HD footage taken in the past few trips...

Goldeneye chick diving in slo mo...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2dwFGvqGXY

Adult female Goldeneye in slo mo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSBDWvMfktk

Adult male Gadwall feeding in slo mo..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZFFqrGTNj4

Adult male Slavonian Grebe preening in slo mo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQzxu2hPrLg

Bathing Lapwing in slo mo..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of9r1iRGuog

Distant Common Swifts hawking insects in slo mo..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AROlKJcCkI

As always, click on 1080hp in order to view best quality video. Apart from the pleasing artistic and aesthetic qualities of the videos in slow motion, the ability to shoot fast moving subjects in flight, such as the Swifts, shows the usefulness with regard to obtaining record footage.


 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Norra Jarvfaltet, 31st May 2014

 Digiscoped Lapwing at Saby...


Common Pochard drake at Saby...

A day out resulted in nothing strange noted, though 60 species was a decent haul. I started at Saby were things were rather quiet. A few Lapwings were the only waders present and I moved off through Jagarkullen where I had great views of Thrush Nightingale. From the tower a pair of Black-throated Diver were present, though distant. A brief Hobby, a fishing Osprey and a pair of nesting Marsh Harriers were very nice. Lots of Swift were present over the lake and I nearly had a heart attack when a partial albino was picked up, a completely white mantle and scapulars had me briefly thinking I had struck gold, before the reality hit home. The undercarriage was largely white too, a Common Swift, a remarkable bird to look at.
Onwards through the woods where a Wood Warbler put up a great show and allowed me to videoscope it as it sang its heart out. Icterine Warbler sang nearby and I finished the day at 30 M Karret watching Snipe display..

Heres that Wood Warbler video for you...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GD8HanQfJE&list=UUUWm0gG93nKzlG2XotE1F3A


Bird species seen on the day..
Magpie, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Blue Tit, Tree Sparrow, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Barn Swallow, Woodpigeon, House Martin, Lapwing, Swift 110, Thrush Nightingale 7, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Black headed Gull, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Reed Bunting, Cormorant, Pied Flycatcher 4, Starling, Mute Swan, Willow Warbler 5, Robin, Grey Heron, Nuthatch, Common Snipe, Lesser Black backed Gull 2, Whooper Swan 1, Black throated Diver 2, Wood Warbler 4, Great Crested Grebe 2, Godeneye, Coot, Mallard, Pochard 18, HOBBY 1, OSPREY 1, Marsh Harrier 2, Common Buzzard 3, Raven 2, Gadwall 5, Wren, Cuckoo 1, ICTERINE WARBLER 1.