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Birds Korea's Bird News July 2005


Hot (typically above 25°C, sometimes reaching 30°C) and humid, with occasional storms and heavy rains associated with southern-tracking typhoons.

Young Japanese and White(-faced) Wagtails can be found begging food on streams and rivers in the southeast. Juvenile Chinese Egrets and Eastern Oystercatchers are on north-west tidal-flats, in some areas feeding alongside summering Saunders's and Mongolian Gulls. Chinese Sparrowhawks are on telegraph poles in rice-fields throughout the country. Black-naped Orioles, Vinous-throated Parrotbills and parties of tits, are found in almost all woodland areas. By the end of July the first returning shorebirds arrive, with large numbers of Far Eastern and Eurasian Curlews at Ganghwa and the Geum estuary.

(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.)

Bird News from Tyler Hicks
Upo Ramsar site, July 23

Collared Scops-Owl - several calling at dusk, Oriental Scops-Owl - one heard, Eurasian Eagle-Owl - one heard calling at dusk, Coot - 1 bird, Common Moorhen - 3, Striated Heron - 3, Black-crowned Night-Heron - 2, Japanese Lesser Sparrowhawk - one adult hunting rice-fields, Chinese Sparrowhawk - one adult on powerpole, Common Cuckoo - many heard calling, Black-naped Oriole - many adults and young

Bird News from Kwak Ho Kyong
Wangsong reservoir in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province, July 19

Watercock, Uiwang © Kwak Ho Kyong

2 Watercock observed at the same place where 1 was observed on 10 June 1997

Bird News from Jake Mac Lennan and Peter Nebel
Gunsan and vicinity, July 17

Eurasian Curlews seem to have returned. It was hard to determine if they were more or less numerous than the Far Eastern Curlews which were also on the Keum Tidal flats. At least one pair of Bar-tailed Godwits were there as well. Several Eurasian Hobbies were seen throughout the day in a few locations, hawking insects on hill sides most often.

Bird News from Park Geon Seok
Ganghwa Island, July 15

3 Chinese Pond Heron nests discovered in an Egrets' nest colony.

Bird News from Jake Mac Lennan and Peter Nebel
Gunsan and Vicinity, July 10

Striated Herons were seen in a couple of locations. A few Eurasian Curlews were among the many Far-eastern Curlews. A Black-capped Kingfisher was perched on a stick at the Geum Tidal Flats. A Common Kingfisher was on reeds near some pools of freshwater. On a hill near the village of Na-po a Pale Thrush was seen and a Grey-backed Thrush was heard.

Bird News fromTim Edelsten
Songdo, July 10

A new fence and barbed wire made viewing of the mudflat virtually impossible, and construction now covers the entire estuary.

A sneak look revealed 6 Black-faced Spoonbills, and the rather pitiful sight of around 80 Saunder's Gulls frantically forageing among the walls and debris. Hopefully they will still have time to finish raising young on the nearby nesting colony.

Very quiet on the lagoon, save for creches of Spot-Billed Ducks, 2 Pochard and 2 Mallard. Oriental Reed Warblers were seen tending nests in the reeds, and around 100 Great Cormorants on the roost - less than the same time last year.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Ganghwa Island - Yeongjong Island, July 8

A bright and sunny morning turned into a misty and overcast afternoon with increasingly heavy and frequent rain showers by evening. An excellent day's birding with 64 species logged - despite all the uncontrolled and rampant "development" going on in the area.

Most significant for the day were Far Eastern Curlew (with ca 900 at Ganghwa and at least 1500 on the southern shore of Yeongjong), Chinese Egret (25 on Ganghwa, 8 on Yeongjong), Shrenk's Bittern (2 females on Ganghwa in one patch of preferred habitat, where also ca 5 Yellow Bittern seen), Black-faced Spoonbill (already 65 roosting up on the rocks at Ganghwa, and 3 seen rather more closely on Yeongjong), and Saunders's Gull, with a flock of 60 on Yeongjong comprised of only 20 adults and most encouragingly 40 juveniles, many still begging (including three juveniles food-begging one adult).

Other species of note during the day included an adult Whiskered Tern, 2 Hoopoe and 2 Meadow Bunting on Yoengjong (North Dyke), and early returning Bar-tailed Godwit (2 on Ganghwa) and Dunlin (2 on Yeongjong).

Chinese Egrets, Gangwha © Nial Moores

Juvenile Saunders's Gull, Yeongjong © Nial Moores

Meadow Bunting, Yeongjong, Yeongjong © Nial Moores

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Seosan Lake B- Gaya San, Doeksan National Park (Seosan City), July 7

With rain holding off for almost the whole day, a very productive day with 62 species logged, many seen well.

At Seosan Lake B, six close breeding-plumaged Great Crested Grebe provided a very elegant start to the day, while the next memorable moment involved a single juvenile Long-billed Plover very close on the road (again!), overflown in turn by a Mandarin Duck and then a male Yellow Bittern. Other species of note there included a Wood Sandpiper (heard) and one or two unseen calling Greater Painted Snipe, an eclipse plumaged Baikal Teal, and a flock of 300+ Barn Swallow - yet more evidence of early autumn movements.

On Gaya San, several hours of birding the edge and one corner of this small forest produced stunning views of a Northern Hobby hawking dragonflies, and most surprisingly a family group of ca 7 Japanese Quail flushed at close quarters from an arable patch (although described as a winter visitor to Korea by Lee, Koo and Park [2000] it appears to breed locally: cf three Japanese Quail were also seen on June 26 in Gunsan by Jake Maclennan and Peter Nebel). Within the forest itself, Pale (3) and Grey-backed (2) Thrush, Blue-and-White Flycatcher (1) and best of all a family party of Hazel Grouse (ca 5) were seen, while a singing White-eye (sp) remained out of view in the canopy.

Mammals seen there were Asian Chipmunk, a Chinese Water Deer and a hare/rabbit (very similar in appearance to the one in Gunsan seen by NM in June, and most likely to be Korean Hare on range?).

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Ferry to Eocheong-Eocheong (45 minutes only!)-Okgu, Saemangeum, July 6

Finally the rain stopped, with the day humid, misty and warm. The sea crossing to Eocheong and back was very poor, with ca 15 Eastern Oystercatcher and 70 Far Eastern Curlew seen along the shoreline at Yooboo, and only 5 Streaked Shearwater and 3 Temminck's Cormorant logged at sea, along with 4 Pacific Swift just south of the island.

On Eocheong in only 45 minutes before the return ferry, views of Korean Bush Warbler, and by NM also of single Indian Cuckoo and Pleske's Grasshopper Warbler (with 3 more heard singing).

Back on the mainland, single Yellow Bittern, while the high tide at Okgu produced 45 Common Greenshank, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 200 Far Eastern and 1 Eurasian Curlew and perhaps best of all, ca 10 early-returning Great Knot.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
South Geoje-Jinju-Mai San, July 5

Overcast conditions followed by dense fog and torrential rain, clearing in the late afternoon. On Geoje, good views of one of three singing male Blue-and-White Flycatcher, and prolonged 'scoping of a singing Little Cuckoo (ca 4 heard) were obvious highlights, as were single Eastern Crowned and juvenile Japanese Bush Warblers seen.

North of Jinju, a riverside stop produced 3 Japanese Wagtail (2 juveniles and an adult), a pair of Common Kingfisher (watched displaying and copulating), 2 Black-capped Kingfisher, 2 Broad-billed Roller, and excellent views of several Striated Heron.

At Mai San, great views of a male Grey-headed Green Woodpecker, and most interesting ca 15 Asian Azure-winged Magpie, with 2 or 3 actively allopreening.

Asian Azure-winged Magpies, Mai San © Nial Moores

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Dadapo/Nakdong Estuary-Geoje, July 4

With rain again falling duing much of the day (occasionally heavily), still 50 species logged. In Dadapo, excellent views of Japanese White-eye (ca 25 logged), mixed Great, Coal and Varied Tit flocks (with some inquisitive Coal Tit especially coming down to within a few feet of pishing), and a single singing Pale Thrush, while ca 30 Pacific Swift overhead suggested autumn migration really is underway.

On the eastern flank of the Nakdong, 300 Little Tern, 28 Far Eastern and 5 Eurasian Curlews, along with a single Bar-tailed Godwit (NM only), and ca 5 Black Kite.

On Geoje, a 2 hour hike was enlived by some facsinating insects, abundant toads and a well-watched Chinese Water Deer, while the only birds of note seen were a very brief flyover Japanese Sparrowhawk, singing Blue-and-White Flycatcher (with one juvenile also seen), several Yellow-throated Bunting (including juveniles), and a few Pale Thrush glimpsed. Along the main road towards the south of the island, good views of a singing Japanese Bush Warblerand ca 20 more Pacific Swift.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Joonam Reservoir-east side of the Nakdong, July 3

More very heavy rain so a long drive south to Busan where conditions were said to be drier...From the expressway, brief views of a Grey-faced Buzzard and much better looks at a male Chinese Sparrowhawk perched on top of a rice-field telegraph pole. At Joonam/Dongpan, few birds, with best there being single Japanese Pygmy and White-backed Woodpecker feeding in the same tree. At Miyeonji, singingPleske's Grasshopper Warbler, brief flight views of singing Zitting Cisticola, and excellent flight views of a male Yellow Bittern.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Namhansan, SE Seoul, July 2

Only a half day, as heavy rain again caught up with us...Best seen were 2 White-backed Woodpecker, juvenile White's Thrush, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Asian Stubtail (with ca 5 others heard) and juvenile Brown Dipper - while most intriguing was a singing apparent adult female Blue-and-White Flycatcher.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Seosan Lake A- Dongjin and Mangyeung - Gunsan, July 1

A brief hour or two of dry overcast was replaced by torrential rain and thunderstorms at Seosan, so we moved south to an overcast and showery Saemangeum for the afternoon. 56 species were logged during the day before torrential rain overtook us, with highlights at Seosan including a breeding-plumaged Chinese Egret, 4 Eastern Oystercatcher, 10+ Black-winged Stilt, 50 Whimbrel, 2 Grey-tailed Tattler and an adult Whiskered Tern.

At one stop at the Dongjin, 100+ Terek Sandpiper and a presumed Greater Sandplover (seen during especially poor weather), while at least 12 Far Eastern Curlew were also logged during the day, as were a single Greater White-fronted and an Eastern Taiga Bean Goose on the Mangyeung.

Near Okgu, a quick stop produced some delightful birding, with a range of common birds seen well including singing Common Cuckoo on wires, a family party of Daurian Redstart and of Black-naped Oriole, Common Kingfisher, Asian Azure-winged Magpie, Green-headed Green Woodpecker and 3 Bull-headed Shrike.

Bird News from Jake Mac Lennan and Peter Nebel
Kunsan and vicinity, July 3

In a pond on the west side of Oh-seong Mountain a pair of Yellow Bittern were seen. Also in the village of Da-oon three more popped out of the reeds.

Bird News from Kim Su Kyung
Cheongju, June 28 - July 1

Ruddy Crake, Cheingju © Park Wan Hee

1 Ruddy Crake and a Eurasian Hobby nest observed near Guryong Mountain.

Bird News from Nial Moores with Pete Aron
Cheonan-Seosan Lake A, June 30

A kingfisher seen from the road in a stretch of forest ca 20 Km east of Seosan was surely a Ruddy, while Lake A produced an excellent afternoon. Highlights included no less than 9 serrirostris Bean and 4 or 5 Greater White-fronted Geese, 4 Mandarin, 4 Falcated Duck, a presumed Baikal Teal (seen only at great range), a Long-billed Plover (on the farm road by the lake!), an extremely unseasonal Vega Gull in with 10 Mongolian Gull, and good flight views of a male Watercock (first heard "gulping").

Best of all, perhaps, was again Amur Leopard Cat, with one watched extremely well on the road at dusk.