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 30, 2014

Videoscoping birds with Panasonic GH4 in Ultra High Definition



Here are some of my latest videos, shot by videoscoping. This works by means of attaching a camera, in this case a 4K capable Panasonic GH4, by means of an adaptor, directly to a telescope. The scope I am using is a Swarovski ATX 9m, the adaptor is the Swarovski TLS. Having spent a while familiarising myself with the settings and various modes on the camera, I can now say that it is a very impressive piece of kit. Video results are superb, even a surprisingly long range at times. Here are a few pieces of video shot in the past couple of weeks in Stockholm, all in different situations. The Goosanders and Gulls were shot at around 30 metres range, whilst the Rough legged Buzzard and Greeat Grey Shrike both at much greater distance...















Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saghalvasho, 3rd October 2014. My last day at Batumi...

 Black Kite in warm light..

What a difference a day makes. That was my thought early morning on Station 1, after the mayhem of the previous day, we now had a nice leisurely day of passage. It was more or less expected, as after previous big days at Batumi, the following day has usually been quiet. It was my last day at Batumi and I was exempt from counting duties as such, but could not resist a few last clicks. Passage was slow, but very nice at first, with Black Kites and Steppe Buzzard the most numerous species...

 A juvenile Lesser Spotted Eagle in the west, showing the upper wing pattern here...


As the sun rose higher we had a lot of activity on the station as Georgian news channel camera crews arrived, along with a dutch TV crew, who were shooting a celebrity reality show. It was a bit chaotic as they filmed through the morning, though I kept away and enjoyed the birds. There were plenty of Lesser Spotted Eagles moving through and I was enjoying these birds immensely. Soon there were some Booted Eagles overhead and the views were superb. These were soon followed by Short Toed Eagles, Levant Sparrowhawks, more harriers and several mixed dove flocks, very nice indeed...








 Booted Eagle, a light morph juvenile right over our heads. Plenty of birds on my last mooring were a welcome send off...

Through the morning the passage was very nice and the light was good. Most of the large Eagles kept their distance, though this did not stop us picking out a glorious Steppe Eagle after a while going through the Lesser Spotted Eagles that were passing in small numbers. It showed well for quite some time before moving off to the south. It really was a case of just enjoying thee birds for me and I was keenly aware that my afternoon flight would drag me away from the mountain. The early morning had already seen me say goodbye to half the counters, which was far from easy. At Batumi, as on my previous visit, I had made some new friends and the counters had become quiet close over the weeks.
It is very difficult to leave. both because of the place and the people...

 Short Toed Eagle overhead, having a scotch and generally showing incredibly well....





As the afternoon drew closer the passage slowed up and there were fewer birds going through, though there were a few highlights. Chief among these were 3 Greater Spotted Eagles, the best of these was a stunning juvenile bird that was in the company of a Lesser Spotted Eagle, affording a super comparison. TThis would of been enough for me, though as my time approached the radio crackled to life and Station 2 announced they had a going away present for me, an adult White Tailed Eagle, a new bird for me at Batumi, it looked fantastic against the mountains in the distance. All that remained was for me to take my leave, first on the radio with the counters at Shuamta, then with those around me. It was very difficult walking down the steps off the hill, before eventually making my way down to the lower house and riven to the airport. From the plane the view was incredible, as we round the coast an dipped a wing at Batumi. As I looked down from high above I could just picture the counters on the mountain...





 Above three images, juvenile Honey Buzzard, a slightly unusual bird this one....




 Steppe Eagle, a distant juvenile was my last of the trip...




 Panorama taken from Station 1, the gentleman on the right is Daniel Hinckley....




 Anna, Danny and Melanie on Station 1




 Georgian TV crew on the station...




Farewell to Georgia, until the next time. What an incredible place...

Batumi - Saghalvasho
Friday 3 October 2014   

Counting period: 7:05 - 18:02
Count type: Storks and raptors
Weather:
Observers: Blanca Pérez, Carles Durà, Guillermo Mayor, Alan Dalton, Mélanie Browne, Daniel Hinckley, Gerrit Jan van Dijk, Ana de Osma, Jasper Wehrmann
Honey Buzzard7Levant Sparrowhawk34Booted Eagle58
Black Kite265Steppe Buzzard686raptor sp.288
Short-toed Eagle8Lesser Spotted Eagle31Crane7
Marsh Harrier135Greater Spotted Eagle3Stock Dove70
Pallid Harrier9Steppe Eagle1Turtle Dove23
Hen/Montagu's/Pallid Harrier9Aquila sp.54

Totals: 1688 individuals, 17 species, 10:57 hours

Bold = Remarkable observation (scarce or rare species or large number)
Comments: Quiet day of enjoyable eagles.