Sightings to report?

email LogoE-mail to
Birds Korea

Birds News Archives

BN Archive Logo

Annual Reviews

Annual review Logo

For more bird news in Korea


For Bird Conservation
in the Region

OBC LogoThe Oriental
Bird Club
BLI LogoBirdLife International (Asia)
Birds Korea's Bird News September 2003


Temperatures begin to cool, especially towards the end of the month, with maxima often falling from 28°C to 20°C. Sunny, dry weather predominates, though often punctuated by occasional heavy rain and very strong winds associated with typhoons.

September sees migration pick up considerably, with a build-up of ducks including the first returning flocks of Baikal Teal by mid-month especially. Seabirds still provide much interest (with increasing numbers of jaegers and dark shearwaters), while shorebirds and Yellow Sea "specials" remain widespread and numerous: highlights have included the world's largest concentration of Spoon-billed Sandpipers (with a peak at Saemangeum of 200 in the late 1990s, likely 10% of the total world population), Nordmann's Greenshank, and up to 170 Black-faced Spoonbill at Ganghwa.

Whiskered and White-winged Black Terns, although scarce in South Korea, become rather more widespread with small flocks of the latter at Seosan especially, along with an increasing number of Mongolian Gull. Raptor migration includes large concentrations of Chinese Sparrowhawk making their way towards Japan (where over 50 000 have been recorded in one day on an island in the Korean Straits only 40 km south of Busan!), along with smaller flocks of Grey-faced and Crested Honey Buzzards, and very small numbers of Pied Harrier and Amur Falcon especially through the west and northwest.

Passerines become rather more numerous and diverse, with Thick-billed Warbler and Brown Shrike early in the month, good numbers of Yellow Wagtail (including the highly attractive taivana), Pechora Pipit, and the three species of "grey-brown flycatchers" by mid-month (some Dark-sided and Brown still, with a peak in Grey-streaked). Towards the very end of September, Olive-backed and Buff-bellied Pipit migration starts in earnest, and the first small flocks of buntings also arrive, with most numerous being Chestnut and Black-faced.

September highlights include both Korean records of Rose-coloured Starling (2002 and 2004), 2 Eurasian Tree Pipits on Eocheong island in 2002, and in 2003, an Ashy Drongo on Socheong Island, with 1 or 2 South Polar Skua seen at sea nearby, Korea's first Steppe Grey Shrike (2004), and the country's first Dotterel, found at Seosan in 2005.

(The following records are a compilation of our own sightings and records sent in by other observers. As well as being posted on the Birds Korea website(s), selected records are also forwarded to other Korean-language birding websites; records of threatened species are arranged and forwarded to Birdlife International and national authorities when appropriate; flag images and records are passed to bodies responsible for their coordination throughout the flyway; and all records sent to us are used to compile annual reports and to support the evolving understanding of the status of many of Korea’s birds.)

Nial Moores and "The Team"
Inner Dongjin estuary, am; Seosan 'Lake A', pm, September 30

A Red Letter Day. Over 90 species logged, including several excellent ones, including day totals of 40+ Pechora and 80+ Red-throated Pipit. At the Dongjin, 1 very distant Black-faced Spoonbill and 2 closer Nordmann's/Spotted Greenshank were best, along with ca 800 Common Greenshank and 1500 Black-tailed Godwit, while a flyby male Pied Harrier was not as rare a sighting in South Korea as that of a Common Starling (!) also there.

At Seosan, a juvenile Long-billed Plover, 2 Mandarin Duck and 6 Temminck's Stint were well-overshadowed by the evening flight of at least 28 000 Baikal Teal and 6 000 Bean Geese (ca 5 500 serrirostris and 500 middendorffi), all perhaps being further eclipsed by the finding of an adult Lesser White-fronted Goose by Mathias, and an adult Chinese Grey Shrike well-scoped even if a little distant. If these species were not enough, further excitement was caused by a close observation of a Racoon Dog and more exceptionally of an Amur Leopard Cat - Prionailurus (bengalensis) euptilura.

Highlight of the day, however,(at least for Nial Moores!), was what appeared to be a female (old adult?) Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (which would be a first for Korea). First called out as a harrier by Dave as he drove our vehicle alongside Lake A's reedbed, close flyby views allowed both Nial Moores and Manuel to identify it as a Western Marsh, further confirmed by the other experienced Euopean observers. Watched for about 5 minutes (1 minute reasonably close in flight, with 2 minutes perched in a large bush in a reedbed ca 150 m distant). Identification was based on structure (fuller-headed, better proportioned than Eastern Marsh); by its largely smooth dark brown coloration; by the absence of an obvious pale blaze across the underside of the primaries, or of any barring on the underwing; by the presence of extensive very pale golden-cream upper wing coverts; by the complete absence of any white rump band; by the golden-honey head colour, broadly traversed by a dark eye-stripe, coming from the bill base back to the nape; and by the faintly marked pale band across the lower breast.

The possibility of it containing some Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus genes was cautiously introduced by Mathias, who observed fine white streaking on the nape (not noted by other observers): is such streaking present in some older Western Marsh females? The only disappointment of this fantastic day was that no good images were taken (though some poor ones will be posted on the site later).

UPDATE - Marsh Harrier: We've had interesting and extensive correspondence on the identification of Harriers with Igor Fefelov of the Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University. Igor has been studying Eastern Marsh Harrier and has noted a zone of interbreeding with Western Marsh Harrier in the Baikal area, and there is a real possibility that this bird is a hybrid. Kim Hyun-tae has also sent us an image of a very similar bird to the one recorded above that he saw in the Seosan area in November 2000. We are currently working with Igor on an article for the website, which we will post when ready..

Bird News from Kim Su Kyung
Pusan, September 30

Nakdong estuary: 11+ Terek Sandpiper, 6+ Common Greenshank, 1+ Far-eastern Curlew, 4+ Eurasian Curlew, 1 Osprey, 1 Common Kestrel.

Bongrae Mountain(13:00-14:30): 1 Eurasian Hobby, 3 Eurasian Sparrowhawk, 11 Black Kite, 1 Grey faced Buzzard.

Bird News from Park Jong Gil
Hong Island, September 22 - 30

Crested Honey Buzzard, © Park Jong Gil.

180+ Crested Honey Buzzard (Max. 70 per day)

Bird News from Nial Moores and "The team" (from 4pm also including Paul Walser and Diana Briel, both from Switzerland).
Okku, Saemangeum, September 29

Despite dense fog in the morning (which prevented proper shorebirding until the evening), a creditable 83 species were logged through the day, including 31 species of shorebird.

variegatus Whimbrel, Photo ©Nial Moores

'Extra' species to those seen on the 27th and 28th included single Black-winged Stilt, Sanderling, Red-necked Phalarope, Pintail Snipe and Greater Sandplover, while most numerous were Dunlin (perhaps 10 000) and Grey Plover (ca 1500).

Best birds of the day included Spoon-billed Sandpiper again (perhaps 10 plus, with only 1 juvenile seen), single Nordmann's/Spotted Greenshank and Chinese Egret, and 2 Amur Falcon, though regional endemic species such as Varied Tit and Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker were also well-watched (and appreciated!).

Further evidence of the autumn birding getting fully under way were another 20 Pechora Pipit and 15 Red-throated Pipit south, along with a single Common Rosefinch and the autumn's personal first lugens "Black-backed" Wagtail and Chestnut-cheeked/Violet-backed Starling.

Bird News from Choi Soon Kyoo
Gangneung, September 28

Several Long-toed Stint in rice paddys.

Long-toed Stint, © CHOI Soon Kyoo.

Bird News from Tim Edelsten
Seoul, September 28

Namsan, Seoul: 1 Rufous-tailed Robin.

Hangang, at Seongnae: 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Grey and 2 White Wagtail, 1 Little and 1 Great Egret , 1 Black-crowned Night heron, 4 Vega and 9 Black-tailed Gull, and 8 Spot-billed Duck.

Bird News from Nial Moores, with Manuel Schweizer, Mathias Ritschard, Claudio Koller and Andreas Tschler from Switzerland, and David Parmenter from the UK
Okku, Geum River, and Mangyeung River, September 28

Birding at Okku, © Kim Hyun-tae.

A busy day, birding Okku (Saemangeum) from dawn (where Dave Parmenter was interviewed by KBS TV, and the group was caught on film by Korean bird photographer Kim Hyun-tae), the Geum River estuary at midday, the inner Mangyeong River at high tide, followed by an hour at the inner Dongjin.

With 86 species logged for the day (including 32 species of shorebird!) highlights were too many to list.

Some of the best species included 2 juveniles and 1 adult Spoon-billed Sandpiper and 2 Spotted Greenshank again at Okku, followed by 2 (late) Long-toed Stint,1 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, and an incongruous Greater Painted Snipe there; ca 25 Baikal Teal and 1 early Slaty-backed Gull at the Geum (along with the day's third Spotted Greenshank); and 2-4 more Spotted Greenshank, 3 White and 17 Black-faced Spoonbill in the inner Saemangeum area.

Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler
Photo © Dave Parmenter

Diurnal migration appeared strong too, with probably 30 or more Pechora and 25+ Red-throated Pipit logged overhead.

A further surprise at the inner Dongjin was a Long-billed Dowitcher (less than 10 records nationally) flying past with Common Greenshank; while the biggest surprise of all came after dark... Back in Gunsan, we went to a local restaurant for a late dinner where Dave noticed a bird fluttering among the tables: it was nothing less than a disoriented Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler! Caught in mid-flight by Mathias, it was then well-photographed (and ticked by at least 3 in the group) before being released into a dark patch of nearby woodland.

Bird News from Nial Moores, with Manuel Schweizer, Mathias Ritschard, Claudio Koller and Andreas Tschler from Switzerland, joined by Dave Parmenter from the UK at midday
Song Do 08:00-10:00 and Okku, Saemangeum, 17:00-18:15, September 27

Red-necked Stint, Photo ©Nial Moores

A Red-necked Stint picked up Mathias Ritschard after it had been chased by a Northern Hobby and tried to escape by flying into long grass under the group's car!

Some easy morning birding included ca 14 Chinese Egret at Song Do, along with very close variegatus Whimbrel and a single juvenile Grey-Tailed Tattler. Other species of interest included 2 osculans Oystercatcher, ca 15 Terek Sandpiper, and a single adult taimyrensis, while a single Pechora Pipit also flew over the motel.

After picking Dave up from the airport and driving down to Okku, just over an hour of light remained. Seeing a flock of 2 000 shorebirds close to the track, Manuel was first to get his scope set up - within seconds finding an adult Spoon-billed Sandpiper! Very good and prolonged views were then had of probably

7 Spoon-billed Sandpiper (4 adults and - happily - 3 juveniles)
in with Dunlin, Red-necked Stint and ca 200 Lesser Sand Plover and 75 Broad-billed Sandpiper. With only 15 minutes of light remaining, a further flock of ca 4000 birds were checked - revealing another key species: 2 Nordmann's/Spotted Greenshank.

Bird News from Kim Gi Sam
Hadori Jeju, September 27

1 adult Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Bird News from Kim Su Kyung and Seong Nak Song
Upo wetland, September 25 - 26

Adult non-breeding plumaged Temminck's Stint, Upo Wetland.
Photo © Kim Su Kyung

After the storms of two weeks ago, many rice-fields around Upo Wetland remain flooded (see Birds Korea - Upo Wetland Floods), and birds not regularly recorded in the area are being seen, including 2 Temminck's Stint and 3 Black-winged Stilt. More expected were 10+ Red-necked Stint, 500+ Spot-billed Duck, 200+ Common Teal, 150+ Coot, 100+ Moorhen.

Bird News from Nial Moores (Guiding small group from Switzerland)
Socheong am/Ferry to mainland pm, September 26

Plenty of activity on the island in the morning, with pipits in particular in good numbers: counts were made of 15 Richard's, 1 Blyth's , 75 Olive- backed, 1 Pechora, and the first 4 Red-throated and 2 Buff-bellied Pipits of the autumn.

Other migrants included a very high count of 10+ Common Rosefinch, 1 Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler, and 3 Siberian Rubythroat and 7 overflying Thick-billed Bean Geese (both first records this autumn). Yesterday's Ashy Drongo was watching climbing into the sky and disappearing eastwards with a flock of pipits!

Seawatching from the ferry to the mainland benefited from having five skilled observers instead of just one. As well as 400 Common Tern, 1 (prob 2) South Polar (very unusual in the Yellow Sea), 2 Arctic, and 4 Pomarine Skuas were recorded. Only the Arctic Skua is listed in Lee, Koo, and Park (2000), but Skuas are regularly being recorded in autumn - a movement of many hundreds of Pomarine Skuas past Guryongpo, for example, was noted by Arnoud van den Berg and Magnus Robb on Oct 19 and 20 2002.

Bird News from Nial Moores (Guiding small group from Switzerland)
Socheong Island, September 25

With a light north-westerly wind, migration noticeably picked up. Raptor passage included 120 Crested Honey Buzzard and 4 Black Kite, 2 Eastern Marsh Harrier, 4 Chinese Sparrowhawk, and 10 Goshawk.

On the sea, 1000+ Streaked Shearwater, and 2 probable Flesh-footed Shearwater went past the island.

Migrants on the island included 50 Olive-backed Pipit (the first of the autumn) and 5 Pechora Pipit, 1 Pale-legged Leaf, 45 Yellow-browed, and 30 Arctic Warblers, 3 Asian House Martin, and 1 Red-throated Flycatcher

Highlight of the day was an Ashy Drongo (prob subsp. salangensis). Just one record, from the DPRK in 1961, is listed in Lee, Koo, and Park (2000), but this spring saw an unprecedented influx of drongos of three species into the country and this is probably the fourth record of Ashy Drongo for South Korea (see Drongos for details), and thus the fifth for the peninsula.

Bird News from Nial Moores (Guiding small group from Switzerland)
Socheong Island, September 24

South-westerly winds have resulted in slightly disappointing birding, but raptor passage has still been interesting. Counts include 60 Crested Honey Buzzard and 14 Black Kite, 1 Chinese Sparrowhawk, 8 Japanese Sparrowhawk, 4 Northern Sparrowhawk, and 8 Goshawk.

Other good records included 1 lagopoda Northern House Martin with 8 Asian House Martin (see our ID note Northern House Martin for a discussion of the features used to separate the two taxa), 1 Pechora Pipit, 7 Ashy Minivet, 20 each of Yellow-browed and Arctic Warblers, and a male and a female Blue and White Flycatcher.

Bunting numbers remain low - with just 7 Yellow-browed, and one each of Tristram's, Little, and Black-faced - but with the wind set to swing to a northerly direction overnight, expectations of better numbers tomorrow are building...

Bird News from Nial Moores (Guiding small group from Switzerland)
Socheong Island, September 23

On ferry to Socheong, 2 Pomarine and 6 Arctic Skua; also one Slender-billed Shearwater.

On Socheong, heavy raptor passage: min. 130 Crested Honey Buzzard and 30 Black Kite. Grounded migrants rather scarce, but included Forest Wagtail, ca 15 Yellow-browed and 20 Arctic Warbler.

Bird News from Choi Soon Kyoo
Gangneung, north-east South Korea, September 22 - 23

10 Red-billed (Silky) Starling with 40 Grey Starling.

Red-billed (Silky) Starlings, © CHOI Soon-Kyoo.

Not listed in Lee, Koo, and Park (2000) the Red-billed (or Silky) Starling was only first recorded in South Korea on Ganghwa island by Kim Jin Man on April 16 2000 (see our article New Korean Species: Red-billed Starling for more details), and this is now the second documented record of a flock of this size.

Bird News from Nial Moores (Guiding small group from Switzerland)
Song Do and Ganghwa, September 22

Serious reclamation appears to be underway at Song Do, with a line of dumped rocks stretching across this important site. Nevertheless, 34 Chinese Egret were on the mudflats, and 3 "Yellow Sea" Gulls - a distinct-looking Mongolian Gull-type (for more go to Type D Mongolian Gull in our ID Forum) typically found here.

On Ganghwa, a further 12 Chinese Egret were found, as well as 20 Black-faced Spoonbill, 4 Saunders' Gull, 2 Mongolian Gull, 2 Eastern Marsh Harrier, and, more unexpectedly, a juvenile Pied Harrier.

Bird News from SUN Young, KFEM
Saemangeum, September 21

Flagged juvenile Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Saemangeum
Photo © Kim Kyungwon.

One of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper juveniles flagged in South Chukotka this summer has been sighted today at Okbong-ri tidal flat (coordinates 35 deg 57 min N / 120 deg 37 min E ), a part of the Saemangeum tidal flats. The sighting was made by a Korea-Japan Joint research team and a KFEM research team.

Kim Kyungwon of Korean Wetlands Alliance reported that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper was feeding in a small pool on the tidal-flat, and was found mainly with Red-necked Stints and Great Knots, which were resting at high-tide. This sighting re-affirms just how important Saemangeum is to the future of this most charismatic shorebird.

Bird News from Kim Sung Hyun
Suncheon Bay, September 20

5 Chestnut-cheeked (Violet-backed) Starling in Suncheon Bay.

Bird News from Kim Hyun tae
Seosan, Geum River, September 20

Baikal Teal have started to arrive at both Seosan and the Geum River:

About 3000 in Seosan (from Kim Ju Heon), About 100 in Geum River (from Kang Hee Young)

Bird News from Choi Soon-Kyoo's website
Namdae Stream, Gangneung City, Gangwon (NE coast), September 16

On August 31st, 3 juvenile White-winged Black Tern.

On September 16th, 1 juvenile Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Juvenile Spoon-billed Sandpiper, © CHOI Soon-Kyoo.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Bongnae Mountain (0840-1240) and Taejongdae (1500-1800), Busan, September 16

In very hazy conditions, a good estimate of the number of migrating Chinese Sparrowhawk passing over Mt. Bongnae was made difficult due to the risk of double-counting, but the total probably ranged between 1200 and 1700, and included a single massive flock of over 900 (!). Other species of note included ca 15 Northern Hobby southwest in the same 4 hour period, along with 73 White-throated Needletail and 11 Pacific Swift, 1 Osprey and at least 1 Asian House Martin.

Grounded migrants there included ca 10 Grey-Streaked and 1 female Blue-and-White Flycatcher, along with 1 Asian Stubtail, ca 20 Arctic Warbler and a single male Eye-browed Thrush.

At nearby Taejongdae, very obvious storm damage from last week's typhoon Maemi, and few birds - with only 10+ Arctic and 2 late Eastern Crowned Warbler, and 5+ Pale Thrush in the regular forest circuit, and ca 10 Common Tern south in 30 minutes of seawatching.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Bongnae Mountain, Busan. 0800-1600 hrs, September 14

Grey-streaked Flycatcher
Photos © Nial Moores
1st winter Blue-and-white Flycatcher
Photo © Nial Moores

Following the passage on Sept 12th-early 13th of what is reputed to have been the stongest typhoon in South Korea's history, 936 Chinese Sparrowhawk were logged moving south or southwest past the count point during the day (with all but 2 between 0800 and 1400, and the largest flock, at 10:45, containing around 255 birds). These were "joined" by 4 Crested/Oriental Honey Buzzard, 1 Osprey, and 6 Japanese Lesser Sparrowhawk during the morning, and also most notably by a total of ca 690 Pacific Swift (an exceptionally high count so late in the season). Other species of note moving south or southwest included 24 White-throated Needletails (usually the commonest swift species by early September), and at least 3 Little/House Swift, along with single Richard's Pipit and Broad-billed Roller.

Although little time was spent looking for grounded migrants, a small area at the top of the 400 m high mountain held 1 first year male Blue-and-White and a first year Black Paradise along with ca 12 Grey-streaked and 2 Brown Flycatchers, as well as ca 10 Arctic and 2 Pale-legged or Sakhalin Leaf Warblers and the more usual Daurian Redstart (6), Yellow-throated Bunting, Vinous-throated Parrotbill and Japanese Pygmy Woodpeckers.

Bird News from "Jake" Maclennan, Peter Nebel, and Kim Young-mi
Okku saltpans and tidal flats, and Geum River Estuary, September 14

Sunny and warm in Kunsan from 20 degrees in the morning

The day produced 55 species. Highlights included six Black-winged Stilts at Okku, large numbers of Yellow Wagtails, a Black-capped Kingfisher and several Hobbies.

At the Geum River Estuary there were an estimated 2000 Black-tailed Godwits and a single Bar-tailed Godwit. Terek and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, Lesser Sand and Kentish Plovers were in the mix of shore birds crowding the shore as the tide rose. After high tide the park area revealed a single Yellow-browed Warbler.

(Also an Oriental Pratincole was observed again mid-week by Peter Nebel near the Kunsan Industrial Park.)

Bird News from Barry Heinrich
Ulleung-do, September 11 - 13

Poor weather on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning. Sunny Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.

Along Sadong Beach on Thursday, Black Wood Pigeons seen several times and a flock of Russet Sparrows. Also saw many Grey Wagtails. Other birds seen on Thursday included 2 Red-necked Stints, a Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpipers, White Wagtails, Blue Rock Thrushes, a Rufous Turtle Dove, Brown-eared Bulbuls, Great Tits (which seemed brighter coloured than those on the mainland around Chungju), and Black-tailed Gulls. (It was interesting to see an adult Black-tailed Gull with a live seahorse, which it took to a rock and pecked at until a disturbed by a wave).

Walking from Dodong to Jeodong Harbour on Saturday afternoon (13th) I saw Black Wood Pigeons again, including one that flew down to the ground on the hillside. Also Barn Swallows, Grey Wagtails, several Blue Rock Thrushes, and Russet Sparrows. In Jeodong Harbour there were about 300 Black-tailed Gulls. On a small beach inside the harbour, 3 Red-necked Stints, 1 Grey-tailed Tattler, 1 Common Greenshank, 1 Terek Sandpiper and a juvenile Temminck's Cormorant.

Bird News from Kim SuKyung
Youngil Bay (Pohang city), September 12

3 Arctic Skua, 110 Streaked Shearwater (in 50 min, moving east from the bay towards the sea), on Dogu Beach 60+ Sanderling, 30+ Red-necked Stint, 3 Lesser Sand Plover, 4 Grey-tailed Tattler, 5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Whimbrel. Also 2 probable Pechora Pipit.

Bird News from Kim SuKyung
Youngil Bay (Pohang city), September 11

On Dogu Beach, 300+ shorebirds (mostly Sanderling), Black -tailed Gull, Black headed Gull, and Vega Gull.

On the sea, 60+ Pharalope (most likely Red-necked), 300+ Common Tern (probably includes different species), 3+ Streaked Shearwater.

Along the beach, 1 Little Whimbrel, 2-3 Whimbrel, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Red Knot, 1 Great Knot, 30+ Sanderling, 3+ Grey tailed Tattler, 5+ Common Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher.

Inland, 3 Pacific Swift, 50+ Barn Swallow, 1 Blue Rockthrush.

Bird News from Nial Moores et al.
Okku, September 8, Flag Sightings from autumn 2003

Sightings of flagged birds at/near Okku (located at Mangyeung, South Korea, 35deg 50min 0sec N, 126deg 45min 0min E) have been sent to the Australasian Waders Study Group.

  • A Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica (one of a group of about 40) was sighted by David MacLennan and Peter Nebel on August 17th on the North shore of the Mangyeung river (near Obong).

    LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus
    RIGHT leg: yellow flag on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

    This bird was flagged in North-west Australia, approximate co-ordinates 19deg 0min S, 122deg 0min E, which uses the flag combination Yellow, sometime since August 1992.

    The resighting was a distance of approximately 6119 km, with a bearing of 5 degrees, from the marking location.

  • From CHOI Soon-kyoo's website: On August 26th in Gangneung, north-east South Korea, a Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes with a yellow leg flag.

    LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus
    RIGHT leg: yellow flag on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

    This bird was flagged in North-west Australia, approximate co-ordinates 19deg 0min S, 122deg 0min E, which uses the flag combination Yellow, sometime since August 1992.

    The resighting was a distance of approximately 6119 km, with a bearing of 5 degrees, from the marking location.

  • A Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris was sighted by Nial Moores at: Okku, Mangyeung, Republic of Korea (South Korea) 35deg 50min 0sec N, 126deg 45min 0sec E on 28/08/03 with flag(s) as follows:

    LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus
    RIGHT leg: green flag on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

    This bird was flagged in Moreton Bay, near Brisbane, Queensland (Australia), approximate co-ordinates 27deg 20min S, 153deg 10min E, which uses the flag combination Green, sometime since 1991.

    The resighting was a distance of approximately 7552 km, with a bearing of 337 degrees, from the marking location.

  • A Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris was sighted by Nial Moores at: Okku, Mangyeung, Republic of Korea (South Korea) 35deg 50min 0sec N, 126deg 45min 0sec E on 28/08/03 with flag(s) as follows:

    LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus
    RIGHT leg: yellow flag on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

    This bird was flagged in North-west Australia, approximate co-ordinates 19deg 0min S, 122deg 0min E, which uses the flag combination Yellow, sometime since August 1992.

    The resighting was a distance of approximately 6119 km, with a bearing of 5 degrees, from the marking location.

  • A Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica was sighted by Nial Moores at: Okku, Mangyeung, Republic of Korea (South Korea) 35deg 50min 0sec N, 126deg 45min 0sec E on 28/08/03 with flag(s) as follows:

    LEFT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus
    RIGHT leg: yellow flag on tibia (upper) above nothing/unknown on tarsus

    This bird, a male, was flagged in North-west Australia, approximate co-ordinates 19deg 0min S, 122deg 0min E, which uses the flag combination Yellow, sometime since August 1992.

    The resighting was a distance of approximately 6119 km, with a bearing of 5 degrees, from the marking location.

Bird News from "Jake" David MacLennan and Peter Nebel
Okku's adjacent tidal flats and salt pans, September 7

Warm weather (perhaps 25-30c) with periods of sunshine. Thankfully the forecasted rain never amounted to more than a few drops.

Highlights of the day included: several Hobbies, a couple of Snipe, a single Black-winged Stilt, a juvenile Oriental Cuckoo, White-rumped Swifts, several Broad-billed Rollers, a Grey-headed Woodpecker, and a couple of Sand Martins mixed in a large group of Barn Swallows. There were good numbers of Yellow, a few White and at least one Grey Wagtail. Fantailed Warblers were seen at a couple of locations as well as Great Reed Warblers.

Definite bird of the day, a single Oriental Pratincole. A little subtle white fringe to the feathers on the wings was noted, so perhaps we observed a juvenile?

Between the two of us we observed 51 species for the day.

Day List:

Little Grebe
Chinese Bittern
Black-crowned Night Heron
Striated Heron
Cattle Egret
Great Egret
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Spot-billed Duck
Common Teal
Eurasian Hobby
Kentish Plover
Grey Plover
Great Knot
Marsh Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Black-tailed Godwit
Far-eastern Curlew
Common Snipe
Black-winged Stilt
Oriental Pratincole
Black-tailed Gull
Rufous Turtle Dove
Oriental Cuckoo
White-rumped Swift
Common Kingfisher
Broad-billed Roller
Grey-headed Woodpecker
Barn Swallow
Sand Martin
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
White Wagtail (Leucopsis)
Brown-eared Bulbul
Daurian Redstart
Blue Rock Thrush
Fan-tailed Warbler
Oriental Great Reed Warbler
Vinous-throated Parrotbill
Oriental Greenfinch
Tree Sparrow
Black-naped Oriole
Black-billed Magpie
Bird News from Nial Moores
Socheong Island, September 5

Juv Grey-tailed Tattler, Socheong Island, Photo © Nial Moores

Heavy rain yielded to clearer conditions in the afternoon, leading to a mixture of arrivals and departures. Of around 60 species logged, best were single Pied Harrier and Yellow-legged Buttonquail in the morning, and Wryneck and Gray's Grasshopper Warbler in the afternoon: the latter species is apparently very rarely recorded in South Korea in the autumn. Other interesting species included 1 Thick-billed Warbler, 3 Thick-billed Shrike and an obliging juvenile Grey-tailed Tattler on the beach.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Socheong Island, September 4

A rather slow day, with few highlights, and decreased numbers of most commoner migrants. Of most interest therefore were ca 10 Japanese Lesser Sparrowhawk west, as well as single Siberian Thrush, Siberian Blue Robin (surprisingly extremely scarce on South Korean islands in autumn) and a juvenile Indian Cuckoo sat out on telephone wires in the evening.

Juv Indian Cuckoo
Photos © Nial Moores

Juv Sooty Flycatcher
Photos © Nial Moores

Bird News from Nial Moores
Socheong Island, September 3

Dull and damp conditions in the morning gave way to clear conditions in the evening - producing a very sudden small arrival of diurnal migrants, these included ca 45 Asian House Martin (with 1-2 probable Northern House Martin mixed in), along with 3 Pacific and 6 White-throated Needletailed Swifts, 2 Forest Wagtail, ca 80 White Wagtail (all leucopsis based on calls and poor flight views), 1 Osprey, and best bird of the day, 2 Pied Harrier - one of which was a cracking adult male.

Grounded migrants showed a slight increase from the days before, suggesting autumn migration is starting to get properly underway (several weeks later than Happy Island to the north, but still much earlier than Gageo Island to the south). Warblers included "only" 4 Thick-billed, 70-80 Arctic and 15 Pale-legged Leaf, while there were also 3 Common Rosefinch, 3+ Yellow-browed and 1 Chestnut Bunting.

Bird News from Nial Moores
Socheong Island, September 2

Periods of rain throughout the day meant that again diurnal movement was all but halted, with best being a single Osprey and ca 4 Hobby, though 230 Streaked Shearwater moving west offshore might have been either migrants or simply following a line of fishing boats.

Grounded migrants were rather better, with at least 4 Thick-billed/Tiger and 1 Bull-headed to add to the 12+ Brown Shrike, as well as as 40+ Arctic, 15+ Pale-legged Leaf and 4 Eastern Crowned Warblers. Tricolored Flycatcher also increased to 18, with 12 Siberian Stonechat up from only 2 on the first. Best of the day remains Thick-billed Warbler, with at least 6 now present - presumed a new record high count for South Korea? - (including 2 in sub-song).

Brown Shrike, Socheong Island, © Nial Moores

Bird News from Nial Moores
Socheong Island, September 1

From the high-speed ferry, only 1 Streaked Shearwater, but surprisingly 2 Swinhoe's Storm Petrel.

On the island itself in light overcast, very little visible migration with only a dozen wagtails southwest all afternoon, though these were joined by 1 Forest Wagtail and 2 Pechora Pipit in the evening. Grounded migrants, though still small in number, were rather more numerous than on Eocheong Island a few days before, comprising for example high counts of 30+ Arctic Warbler, 25 Brown Flycatcher, ca 9 Tricolor Flycatcher and 12 Brown Shrike (an increasingly scarce migrant through South Korea). Other species of interest included ca 85 Pelagic and 35 Temminck's Cormorants, 2-3 species of cuckoo, 1 early Black-browed Reed and 2+ Lanceolated Warbler. Best bird of the day, however, was Thick-billed Warbler, with at least 3 present: this is still considered (perhaps incorrectly?) to be a rather rare migrant here.

Thick-billed Warbler Acrocephalus aedon,

Photos © Nial Moores

Thick-billed Warbler is listed in Lee, Koo, and Park as a rare passage migrant. The species breeds widely from NE China across Siberia, and apparently into North Korea, wintering mainly in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The breeding range therefore extends over, and to the east of, the Korean peninsula, and the species is surely more common than previously suspected.
The photos of this bird clearly shows the rather plain face with pale lores, rounded head-shape, and completely pale lower mandible - all features separating Thick-billed from Oriental Reed Warbler.