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Birds Korea's Bird News May 2002
Bird News from Nial Moores
May 23, Eocheong Do

2 hours before boat
Blyth's Pipit: 1
Chestnut-flanked White-eye: 1
Japanese Grosbeak: ca 8

On return boat journey Pomarine Skua: 1 Photographed (first documented record)
For details go to our Rarity reports section.

Also 4+ Ancient Murrelet
350+ Streaked Shearwater

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eocheong Do, May 22

Highlights amongst 70 spp included
Blyth's Pipit: 1
Lanceolated Warbler 2
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler: 1
Gray's Grasshopper Warbler: 1
Chestnut-eared Starling: 1

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eocheong Do, May 21

Sunny, becoming cloudier by afternoon.

87 species recorded, though a significant departure took place in the early afternoon.
More highlights included:

Schrenk's Bittern, Photo © Nial Moores

Schrenck's Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus: 2, including one trying to hide itself... on the road!
White-breasted Waterhen: 2
Thick-billed Shrike: 8
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus: 14, including one cracking adult male showing a significant white patch at the base of the primaries.
White-throated Rock Thrush: 1 in song
Siberian Thrush: 2
Brown Thrush: 1, a very late record of this Japan-nesting species.
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler: 3+
Gray's Grasshopper Warbler: 1 in song: another flushed up off the path into a pine tree, where it posed in true Eocheong Do style...
Japanese Grosbeak 3...also rather later than expected

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eocheong Do, May 20

Sunny conditions, but still 81 species recorded.
Most interesting was a steady passage of Chinese Sparrowhawks (with 75+ north in one hour).
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus: 1
Broad-billed Roller: 25-30
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler: 4+
Yellow-browed Warbler: 90+
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis: ca 25+ (including singing nominate P.b.borealis)
Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythopleurus: at least 1 of this surprisingly rare migrant to Korea.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eocheong Do, May 19

Nial back to Eocheong Do in search of later spring migrants, and to spend time with key people on the island to explain about the possibilities of birdwatching-based eco-tourism...

Birding highlights, among 95+ species recorded, included :
Streaked Shearwater: 159 on the ferry across
Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus: 1. Although locally common in Japan, and apparently a numerous migrant through Happy Island, this species is remarkably scarce in Korea.
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus: 1 and 1 probable Long-tailed Skua (distant) from the ferry.
Ancient Murrelet: 12, including 5 on the sea next to the ferry.
Thick-billed (or Tiger) Shrike Lanius tigrinus: 2 males were the first of the year.
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola: 3 + (the first Locustellas of the spring on Eocheong Do)
Raddes' Warbler: 7+, a new island high count of this species
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis: 10+ the first proper numbers of this late-migrating phyllosc.
Hume's Leaf Warbler: 1, largely on call
Among 6 species of flycatcher, Grey-streaked Flycatcher (45+) was the most numerous.
The 8 species of bunting recorded included 2 unexpected species: 1 female Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides and one very late near-summer-plumaged male Pallas's Reed.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Ganghwa Island, May 18

A morning spent at Ganghwa Island provided stunning views of Black-faced Spoonbill down to 20 m as it fed in a roadside rice-field, 14 Chinese Egret in one group (and many other singles), a few Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus and an extremely well-watched singing Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Gwangneung, May 17

A visit to Gwangneung Arboretum and surrounding forest produced many sightings of Japanese Pygmy, Great Spotted and White-backed Woodpeckers, singing Siberian Blue Robin and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher 'scoped, and the briefest glimpse of Ruddy Kingfisher Halycon coromanda. Although at least 6 were heard, none gave decent views...None of the 5 or so Indian Cuckoos Cuculus micropterus heard showed either, unlike 2 very obliging Oriental Cuckoos Cuculus saturatus, and a couple of Grey-backed and White's Thrushes.

Bird News from Kim Su-Kyung
Daehuksan Do, May 15 - 16

In heavy rain and strong winds,a fall of commoner migrants took place on Taehuksan: highlights of birds seen by Kim Su-Kyung and Mandy included

Black Woodpigeon Columba janthina: 1
Chinese Goshawk: ca 50+
Brown Flycatcher: 100-200 in the north of the island
Yellow Bunting: 1, a late date for this species
Red-cheeked Starling: 1

Also Ancient Murrelet: 1 from the return ferry

Bird News from Nial Moores
Mankyeung, ferry to Daehuksan Do, May 14

Early morning at Mankyeung

A roost of at least 40 000 shorebirds watched extremely close and well in sharp early morning light.
Highlights included:
Spoon-billed Sandpiper: At least 6 in full-breeding plumage.
Black-faced Spoonbill: 4 first years
Great Knot: ca 35 000
Broad-billed Sandpiper: 100

As the boat to Eocheong Do was cancelled due to poor weather, we travelled quickly down to Mokpo instead, stopping en route for Long-toed Stint (3), and caught the boat across to Daehuksan.

From the outward ferry highlights included:

Slender-billed (or Short-tailed) Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris: 3, a very scarce visitor to Korean waters.

From the return ferry, Nial travelling alone, saw -

Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus: 1 full-tailed adult. This is apparently another first record for Korea (making three this spring so far), but not unexpected as occasionally reasonably numerous in seas off Japan.

Little Swift Apus affinis: 2 following the boat in rapidly worsening weather...this constitutes about the 5th record of the species for Korea, with most from the far south-western islands, suggesting a small spring passage.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Yeong Jeong Do, Dongjin River, Saemangeum, May 13

Afternoon arrival at Yeong Jeong Do, with US birder Martha Walsh-McGehee: 10-minute stop to take in a full breeding plumaged Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes, before driving down to Saemangeum for the evening high tide.

At the Dongjin River, Saemankeum, highlights included:
Black-faced Spoonbill: 6
Lesser Sand Plover: 500+
Red-necked Stint: 2000+
Little Stint: 1 (presumed different from one in a nearby area a week before, based on plumage differences)
Pectoral Sandpiper: 1
Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper: 150+
Broad-billed Sandpiper: 100+
Whiskered Tern Childonias hybrida: 1 (considered "rare" in Korea, but increasingly recorded and obviously significantly overlooked)
Chinese Penduline Tit Remis consobrinus: 25+
Drongo sp, presumably Black Dicrurus macrocercus, seen by Mandy and Su-Kyung in flight.

Bird News from Dr. Park Jin-Young
Daehuksan Do

While still on Daehuksan Do:
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola: 1
Chestnut Bunting: 150-200, northern part of the island.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 9

An early morning return to the mainland by boat included excellent views of 4 and distant views of 5 other Ancient Murrelets...

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 8

Gradually clearing skies led to the recording of 99 species on the island (probably only 1000 ha in extent). Best included:
Chinese Sparrowhawk: 5+ arriving exhausted in the evening, giving excellent views.
Amur Falcon: 1 male
White-throated Needletail: ca 225 North-east in 2 groups in the morning; total of 305 noted moving NE during the day. This is quite possibly the largest day count of the species in Korea to date, but future observations are likely to prove that there's a regular passage.

Reduced numbers of thrushes, chats and flycatchers (though still 100+ Mugimaki and at least 7 Grey-streaked Flycatchers), somewhat compensated for by 7 Common Rosefinch together, 6 Red-Cheeked Starlings, and 2 rather late (Japanese) Yellow Buntings making 8 bunting species for the day.

Bird News from Dr. Park Jin-Young
Gageo Do, May 7 & 8

From Gageo Do, Dr Park Jin-Young reports a Grey-headed Lapwing (May 7-8), an adult male White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis (about the third for Korea), and a Tree Pipit, the second of the spring on Gageo Do. First found in Korea on Gageo Do in 1999, this species is now being recorded annually in small numbers, with possibly 10 claimed records in total.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 7

Constant heavy drizzle and fog throughout the day led to large parties of foraging flycatchers, with no less than 6 species in a couple of the groups!

Some highlights included:

Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus orientalis: at least 14, with 9 in one group
Red-tailed Robin: 35+ (many seen excellently foraging on roads or stone walls)
Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope: at least 6 males seen well (including 3 in one bush!)
Bluethroat L. svecica: 2
Siberian Blue Robin L.cyane: 15+ seen
Siberian Thrush ca 11 seen (9 males and 2 females; some feeding on berries in the open)
Eye-browed Thrush: 150+
Tricolor Flycatcher: 15+
Narcissus Flycatcher: 5
Mugimaki Flycatcher: at least 174 counted
Taiga Flycatcher: 1 female
Blue-and -white Flycatcher: 8
Grey-streaked Flycatcher: 8
Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica: 6
Tristram's Bunting: 120+
Little Bunting: 130+
Common Rosefinch: (a rarity in Korea) 6
Red-cheeked Starling: 3

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 6

Rain with strong SE winds started to drop migrants onto Eocheong Do in the late afternoon. The scene was somewhat reminiscent of a week earlier, but the species composition was strikingly different, comprising several mid-spring migrants such as the grey-brown flycatchers and Red-tailed Robins.

Ashy Minivet: 120+
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus: 1 (the first of the year)
Red-tailed Robin: 7+
Siberian Thrush: 5+ seen well
Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus: 230 in one flock; lots of smaller groups also noted.
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki: 28+
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla: 1 adult male
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica: 1
Grey-streaked Flycatcher M. griseisticta:2

Bird News from Dr. Park Jin-Young
Gageo Do

From Gageo Do, Dr Park Jin-Young reports a female Citrine Wagtail, a rare migrant.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Yeong Jeong, May 5

A couple of hours birding at Yeong Jeong next to the aiport before catching various flights home were rewarded with stunning close-up views of a breeding plumaged Chinese Egret and several Saunders's Gulls...highlight for some, however, were views of the far commoner but still beautiful Varied Tit Parus varius.

Bird News from Kim Hyuntai
Seosan, May 4

News and photos from Kim Hyuntai's website reveals Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachdactyla and Korea's third Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus, both at Seosan.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Seosan Lake A/B, May 4

A visit to the Seosan reclamation lakes produced this trip's perhaps greatest and most welcome surpises. A distant flock of birds "out on the water" turned out to be 1300 extremely late serriostris Tundra Bean Geese, and 2 striking Swan Geese Anser cygnoides!
Turning to the few hundred duck loafing nearby, equally far out, groups of Garganey Anas quequedula and Common Teal A. crecca concealed at least 1 drake Baikal Teal A. formosa. Picked out largely on structure and its vertical flank stripe, it was beyond the range of weaker scopes, even disappearing for 30 minutes, until it was finally repicked out by Dennis Weir, and called out energically to the group. Increasingly good views were had for 2-3 minutes before it took flight away up the lake...(and on to Siberia one hopes).

Bird News from Dr Park Jin-Young
Gageo Do

From Gageo Do, Dr Park Jin-Young reports 2 Blyth's Pipits, which remain two days.

Bird News from Dr. Park Jin-Young
Gageo Do

News from Dr Park Jin-Young on Gageo Do included another Korean Tree Pipit, male Black Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata and male Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos chasing down 150+ Little Buntings at Hangri.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Saemangeum, May 3

Increasingly overcast with heavy rain. Another day was spent in the Yellow Sea's most important and threatened shorebird site, Saemankeum.

No Spoon-billed Sandpipers, but among an estimated 20,000+ shorebirds in one area were ca 1500 summer-plumaged Red-necked and one Little Stint C. minuta, plus ca 3 Nordmann's Greenshanks Tringa guttifer and 3 Asiatic Dowitcher Limnodromus semipalmatus (a species recorded less than 10 times in Korea up to now).

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 2

Sunny and warm, "only" 95 species were recorded.

The first Broad-billed Rollers Eurystomus orientalis (3) were logged, as well as another (or the same?) Amur Falcon and at least 35 White-throated Needletails Hirundapus caudacutus.

On the ferry back to the mainland, 150+ Streaked Shearwater and 3 Ancient Murrelets were again seen by the team.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Eochong Do, May 1

Clearing weather saw major departures of birds, but even so 108 species were logged, including the Black-faced Spoonbills and Amur Falcon again, as well as increasing numbers of accipiters (with 10 Chinese Sparrowhawks and 25 Japanese (Lesser) Sparrowhawks A. gularis) and 2 Oriental Pratincoles flycatching like oversized wagtails less than 10 metres from suitably impressed observers. 300 Ashy Minivets for the day was presumed a new Korean high count, while 25 Black-naped Orioles Oriolus chinensis were no less welcome.