Bird Sightings

Soya Island, Incheon. April 24th

Tim Edelsten. A charming and mostly unspoilt small island, still with habitats such as damp marshy grassland and a small stream. Weather fine and dry with changeable slight breeze. Full list as follows:

Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha. Two on the sea.

Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus. Several heard. A male with a brace of hens seen.

Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus. Two at Togol village.

Temminck’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus. Seven on the rocks.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. Three over Guksu-bong were alerted to by a screeching Jay.

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus. One.

Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago megala. Three flushed in an area of thick grass and scrub near Keun Maeul. Identification points include e.g. the surprised “gaak” take-off call; the short, low, unsteady flight dropping down only 10-20 m away; the overall dull upperside, lacking noticeable ‘braces’ and plain greyish upperwing.

Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris.

Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus. Three adults and a 2ndCalyr.


Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus.

Rufous Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis.

Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus optatus. One in monotonous song at Guksu-bong.

Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia. Five, in different areas, including three calling simultaneously in the mid-afternoon.

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major. Seems to be two pairs on the island.

Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus. One heard at dusk, delivering several times the unmistakeable high-pitched piping “heh-hip-hip-hip-hip-hip-huh” call. This presents a puzzle, as apparently this species has not previously been recorded on any offshore island (except Gangwha).

Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus.

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius. Common on the island. One was seen retrieving nuts from between tree-bark.

Eurasian Magpie Pica pica.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone.

Yellow-bellied Tit Pardaliparus venustulus. Three feeding amongst the treetops were announced by their distinctive “tweedle-dee” calls.

Varied Tit Sittiparus varius.

Eastern Great Tit Parus minor.

Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis. Four, apparently on territory. A pair at Keun Maeul showed courtship-type behaviour, e.g. one constantly shadowing the other. Another pair was at Togol village where also the male “singing”.


Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis

Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis. Abundant. At the moment they are flocking to the cherry blossom trees (drawn by the nectar?).

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. One or two.

Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica. One in the evening.

Korean Bush Warbler Horornis borealis. Several singing and also seen well.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus.

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus. Suddenly fairly numerous: about thirty.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes. Two or three.

Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus. Fairly numerous, at least thirty seen and heard.

White’s Thrush Zoothera aurea. Four, including a singer.

Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum. At least forty seen, presumably many more present as the gully towards Jeuknogol beach was laden with thrushes.

Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus. Thirty-eight seen, undoubtedly more present.

Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus. 50+.

Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana. Three males.

Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus. Two.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius. Three.

Stejneger’s Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri. Three.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea. A nesting pair.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba. Two ocularis.

Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni. 60+.

Brambling Coelebs montifringilla. Four late-lingerers.

Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus. Nine.

Tristram’s Bunting Emberiza tristrami. At least 25 in the plots and gardens.

Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata. One.

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla. Five.


Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla.

Yellow-browed Bunting Emberiza chrysophrys. Forty-one counted.

Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans.

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala. 40-50.

Among other spring sights were a few Yellow-tip butterflies.


Yellow Tip Anthocharis scolymus.


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