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

Friday, July 31, 2015

Juvenile Baltic Gull; Skeppsbron; 31st Jult 2015

 BIRD (A). What a stunner. A fresh juvenile light morph Baltic Gull, it doesn't get much better than this. The bird appeared suddenly after about an hour at the site, only staying briefly. Beautifully marked, with chocolate brown upper parts with broad creamy feather edges, pale head and underparts.



 BIRD(A). Ghostly in flight from underneath, with restricted markings on the underwings. A wonderfully marked bird which made my day...


 BIRD (A). Above and below, the same light bird in flight from above. Incredibly striking bird and it has been a few years since I have seen one this pale.





 BIRD (A). Again the pale individual in flight, nice to get some good shots of this bird.



 Another bird, this perhaps one of the three birds below, which drifted past me. Luckily I got this shot, one of the best of the day. A nice view of the underwing here, showing more typical dark markings...


 BIRD (B). A rather dark individual and possibly a sibling to the two birds below. Dark facial mask, well marked underparts, dark upper parts and thin coffee fringes.



 BIRD (B). Same bird as above, wing stretching.



 BIRD (C). A sinular type to the above bird and seemed to be attended by and adult, so I think a sibling to the other two it was resting close to. Again a darkish the on the deck..



 BIRD (C). Stretching in this shot, showing the auxiliaries very nicely...



 BIRD (D). The last bird, again though a sibling. Similar general appearance to the other, though a little paler overall, with more striking, paler finger to the caps, covert's and tortillas. A very nicely marked bird this one..
 BIRD (D). Quite active and more mobile than the other two birds on the dock, perhaps the oldest of the three?
 BIRD (D). A nice view of the underwing here as the bird moved around. Quite playful this one and often raised its wings...



 BIRD (D). Above and below. Playing with a piece of plastic, always a worry these birds will come to harm to to human litter...








BIRD (D). Flying away, giving a nice view of the tail pattern, pretty much typical of juvenile Baltic Gull in my experience...

A wonderful day watching gull at Skeppsbron, despite the large numbers of tourists, who probably think me bonkers. Early on I spent my time looking at the Herring Gulls carefully, among which the Omissus type was still present. After a brief spell looking at the sub adult Baltic Gulls and looking for signs of moult, my attention was grabbed in no uncertain fashion when an absoloubtly stunning pale morph Baltic Gull, a fresh juvenile bird, dropped in close by. It hung around for fifteen minutes of so and gave super views. Later I went walkabout after a couple of intermediate types flew by and eventually I located three fresh juveniles on the dock near Slussen, enjoying wonderful views of what I think are three local siblings.

Herring Gull; 1st Calendar; Skeppsbron; 31st July 2015

 Above and below; A stunning fresh juvenile Argentatus Herring Gull...





Detail, showing the piano notched greater covert's and the tertial markings.

Juvenile Argentatus Herring Gulls are now starting to appear in small numbers at Skeppsbron and this was a stunning fresh bird, which was very tame indeed. A beuatifully marked individual, nice to refamiliarlze myself with this plumage...

Intermedius Lesser Black backed Gull Candidate; Skeppsbron; 31st July 2015

 Note the obvious moult in the shot on the far wing, albeit, restricted to the inner primaries. In addition to the moult the bird gave a very heavy general impression in the field, a large bird in direct  comparison to Baltic Gull..


A view of the upperside in flight, showing the moult clearly, which matched on both wings. Note also the rather heavy bill.

Photos here of a Lesser Black backed Gull from Skeppsbron, which I strongly suspect could be an intermedium bird, due to the state of moult in the wings as well as the heavy impression in the field.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A second calendar Lesser Black backed Gull, Skeppsbron; 30th July 2015

 This today at Skeppsbron, a second calendar Lesser Black backed Gull which immediately grabbed my full attention. I spent quite a bit of time looking at the bird and getting a good set of reference photos, Note there the moult in the inner primaries, something not seen in Baltic Gull in late July. It would seem this could be my first Graellsii/Intedmedius in this age group at the site.


 Note here the rather short looking wings, which are also quite broad. Again, the inner primary moult is apparent. Active moult on the coverts. mantle and scapulars. also at times a very short necked and round headed appearance in flight. A very striking bird in flight. A nice view of the tail pattern in these two upper shots.


 The underwing here..largely whitish with some light coffee brown marking on the underwing covert's.


 A nice shot of the bird on the water...the moult is very evident on the upper part.




Whilst checking the gulls today this bird appeared after around 45 minutes and immediately got my full attention. After some superb views I managed a suite of good reference shots and feel certain this is with a Graellsii or Intermedius, the first second calendar I have seen at the site in several years looking at gulls there. Naturally, I was very happy to see this striking bird.

Omissus Herring Gull, Skeppsbron; 30th July 2015

 Above and below. On the deck right in front of me, a stunning adult Omissus Herring Gull....





Showing the textbook 'thayeri' wingtip pattern, with reduced black in P7-P10. Note the thin subterminal bar at the tip of P9.

Images here of a stunning adult Omissus type Herring Gull from Skeppsbron today, a very confiding bird indeed. It has been around for at least three days, finally I got down there with the camera...

Baltic Gull, 1st Calendar; Skeppsbron; 30th Jul 2015













Images here of the first juvenile Baltic Gulls to frequent Skeppsbron this year. Judging by their behaviour, these birds might well be siblings. The birds remained a little way out, which is typical of birds just out of the nest, though they will soon gain confidence and compete for food amongst the other gulls in the area...

Baltic Gull; Sub Adult and Adult; Skeppsbron; 30th July 2015

 A nice shot of an interesting individual here. Note the second mirror on P9, only seen on a small percentage of birds...


 A nice view of an adult type here, a fine illustration of the underwing. Note the long winged appearance...


 Another flight shot of an adult Baltic Gull...


 Again, the same bird showing a mirror on both P9 and P10.


 Apparent moult, very rarely seen in Baltic Gull this early, though I feel this is simply a damaged wing with missing feathers...

 The same bird as above, showing a fuller wing, more in line with Baltic Gull and thus confirming the bird is missing feather due to damage, not active moult..

A sub adult on the water showing signs of moult...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Gulls at Skeppsbron; 13th July 2015




 A first calendar Herring Gull, race 'argentatus'. This bird appeared at the site a couple of days ago and showed quite well tonight. The first of this years youngsters at the site, it will soon be followed by many others. A darkish individual this one.

 Video footage of this 1st Calendar bird here. The bird spent a lot of time preening in order to remove down feathers...





 Above; A couple of images of a newly fledged Common Gull, alway nice to see such fresh plumage...








Baltic Gull adults, several birds present tonight, rather common at the site.


Video footage, Baltic Gull; Adult in July. Features some long calling birds and slow motion footage...

A few shots taken this evening during my spot-check of the gulls present at Skeppsbron.