Gary and Marlene Babic's Birds
South Korea, February 17-19, 2003, with Nial Moores

Our short tour started at Yeongjong airport at lunchtime on the 17th: from there we drove to Ganghwa Island for an afternoon's birding in bright conditions and mild temperatures.
That evening ("follow that bus!" ) we drove across to Gwangneung National Arboretum, where we stayed at the classy castle: the Euro.

On the morning of the 18th, grey and overcast with occasional snow flakes, we birded around and inside Gwangnueng, with undoubted highlights being the Pallas's Rosefinches and THAT Hazel Hen. In the afternoon we headed north towards the Imjin, which we followed down to Han-Imjin estuary and its Swan Geese. In the evening we drove to Song Do, where the next morning (the 19th) we had to spend less than 30 seconds looking for either Chinese Nuthatch or Relict Gull (where else can you compare them in near breeding plumage to Saunders's Gulls??)!

Still needing Pallas's Reed Bunting and hoping for a second try for the Oriental White Stork, we drove back up to Ganghwa….A couple of new birds later, the drive back to the airport and a pizza finale.

English NameNumber seenLocation and comment
Great Cormorant30Han River
Grey Heron5+Ganghwa
Bean GooseCa 5,000 Tundra Bean; ca 500 Taiga BeanHan-Imjin
Greater White-fronted Goose10,000 Ganghwa, Han
Lesser White-fronted Goose2: 1 ad, 1 sub-adult typeGanghwa: A scarce migrant and winter visitor: less than 50 records nationally, but probably much overlooked. World Pop. Ca 18,000
Swan Goose3Han-Imjin. Commonest in November and again in March. World pop. Ca 30,000 - 50,000
Ruddy Shelduck300+Ganghwa, Han
Common Shelduck15Song Do
Mandarin Duck5Gwangnueng. World pop. Ca 70,000
Falcated Duck1Ganghwa
Mallard50Ganghwa etc
Spotbilled Duck (Yellow-nib Duck)150+Various
Common Goldeneye15Han-Imjin
Common MerganserCa 75Han-Imjin and Song Do
White-tailed Sea Eagle3Han-Imjin
Cinereous Vulture5+Han-Imjin
Common Buzzard5+Various
Upland BuzzardCa 4Various: very scarce winter visitor to South Korea
Common Kestrel5Various
Hazel Hen (Hazel Grouse)1 ad maleGwangneung
Ring-necked Pheasant several "genuine"Various
White-naped Crane16Han-Imjin: World pop. 5 500- 6 500
Eastern Oystercatcher2Song Do. A very distinctive form osculans found only in Far East Asia; estimated population of ca 10 000
Solitary Snipe3Gwangneung
Dunlin10Song Do
Black-tailed Gull300++Various
Kamchatka Gull50++Various
Heuglin's Gull (Siberian Gull)2Song Do
Mongolian Gull1500+Especially Han-Imjin. For ID paper, go to Mongolian Gull
Slaty-backed Gull1Song Do
Relict Gull10+Song Do.The majority of this species probably winter in the northern Yellow Sea, and are very scarce in mild winters. World pop. Ca 2,000- 10,000
Saunders's GullCa 50Song Do. World pop. Ca 7,000- 10,000
Black-headed Gull100sSong Do
Rufous Turtle Dove50++Various
Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker5Ganghwa/Gwangnueng
White-backed Woodpecker1Gwangnueng
Great Spotted Woodpecker3+Ganghwa/Gwangnueng
Grey-headed Green Woodpecker2Ganghwa
Black WoodpeckerSeveral heardGwangneung
Northern Skylark20+Ganghwa
Black-backed Wagtail1Ganghwa
Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit3Ganghwa
Brown-eared BulbulManyVarious
Bull-headed Shrike3Ganghwa
Brown Dipper1Gwangneung
Winter Wren5Various
Siberian Accentor5+Ganghwa
Daurian Redstart2Various
Dusky ThrushCa 10Various.1 eunomus and rest naumanni
Vinous-throated ParrotbillCa 50Mostly Ganghwa
Goldcrest5Song Do
Long-tailed Tit20 magnus + 4 white-headed caudatus or japonicusGanghwa / Gwangnueng
Eastern Marsh Tit5Various
Coal Tit10+Various
Great Tit30+Various
Varied Tit10Various
Eurasian Nuthatch5Gwangneung
Chinese Nuthatch1 malePerhaps no record for 5 years prior to this winter, with at least 4 records submitted to Birds Korea by January
Common Treecreeper1-2Ganghwa
Chestnut-eared Bunting4Ganghwa
Rustic Bunting200++Mostly Ganghwa
Yellow-throated Bunting20Mostly Ganghwa
Pallas's Reed Bunting25+Ganghwa
Reed Bunting2Ganghwa
Lapland Bunting1Ganghwa
Pallas's RosefinchCa 151 heard Ganghwa, rest Gwangneung; a good irruption year….
Bullfinch1 heardGwangneung
Tree Sparrow100+Most Ganghwa
brandti Jay20+Most Gwangneung
Black-billed Magpie100++Various
Carrion Crow2Ganghwa
(Jungle) Large-billed Crow11+Gwangneung