Monthly Archives: July 2019

Spring in the Yellow Sea – a must on any birder’s bucket-list! (Post 1 of 4)

Spring in the Yellow Sea…anything is possible! © Matt Poll

Jeju Island, April 11-13, 2019

For any birder who has yet to visit Korea’s Yellow Sea during spring migration…what are you waiting for? Aside from the ‘regular’ East Asian migratory specialties that can be found along the East-Australasian Flyway, there are national firsts and rarities that show up on the islands annually during this period. Interacting with the rugged but always-friendly islanders, and experiencing the local food and slow-paced, old-fashioned lifestyle on these islands is also a rewarding aspect of such trips. Spring on the islands is my happy place, and this trip did not disappoint.

  It was thrilling to re-visit my former subtropical home of Jeju Island! On April 11th, I visited some of my old birding haunts in and around Seogwipo, and found some notable signs of seasonal movement, including:

Black-winged Stilt-4 in the harbor
Pacific Swift-2 very high above
Barn Swallow-120+
Red-rumped Swallow-12+
Asian House Martin-9 flying slightly higher than the other hirundines
Olive-backed Pipit-8 in a riverside park
Grey-backed Thrush-1 at dusk
Narcissus Flycatcher-1 male in the park
Asian Brown Flycatcher-2 in the park

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus © Matt Poll
Japanese Bush Warbler Horornis diphone cantans © Matt Poll

The following day, I was up early. After a dawn raid of a small island in the harbour turned up little, I had a siesta then returned to my favourite scruffy park for a couple of hours. I encountered Narcissus Flycatchers there pouncing on prey from low trees at four separate spots – I’d forgotten how absolutely spoiled rotten I was in Seogwipo when it came to refuelling Narcs!

On the way out, I decided to give what I long-ago dubbed “thrush corner” one last check, and was rewarded with the sight of two (or more) Grey Thrushes foraging under low fruit trees.

Grey (JapaneseThrush Turdus cardis © Matt Poll

On the 13th, I brought Mike Balfour, my Jeju birding partner of old, to check out the bird activity in Seogwipo’s parks. As morning gave way to afternoon, a pair of minivets appeared and shreeped from the trees just above eye-level. I was quite surprised to discover that rather than the expected Ashy Minivets, they were in fact Ryukyu Minivets, a species only documented once before in Korea  (

  The pair called to one another and fed in low trees for 30 minutes before flying off. The species, once an Ashy Minivet subspecies, has been colonizing northward in Japan lately. Hopefully this sighting means they’re also coming this way. Is it possible they will colonize Korea like Light-vented Bulbuls have over the past 20 years, or were these just more rare overshoots? I’m betting they visit coastal Korea more frequently than twice in seven years, and are perhaps overlooked. The winds were blowing straight up out of the Ryukyu Islands on April 12-13th, incidentally.

male Ryukyu Minivet Pericrocotus tegimae © Matt Poll
male Ryukyu Minivet Pericrocotus tegimae © Matt Poll
female Ryukyu Minivet Pericrocotus tegimae © Matt Poll
female Ryukyu Minivet Pericrocotus tegimae © Matt Poll
Ryukyu Minivet calls, Seogwipo, Jeju Island, April 13, 2019

제주도 비자림로: 과거와 현재의 환경영향평가, 그 다음은?

환경영향평가는 “환경친화적인 개발을 위해 필수적이다” (유엔 2018). 능력 있는 사람들이 정직하게 진행한 환경영향평가는 위정자들이 현명한 결정을 내리도록 돕고 지역과 국가의 장기적인 이익을 도모하는 가장 값싼 방법입니다. 능력 없는 사람들이 불성실하게 진행한 환경영향평가는 시간과 돈을 낭비할뿐 아니라 위정자들이 현명한 결정을 내리는 … read more

Bijarim Ro, Jeju: 2014-2015 Assessment, then the June 2019 Reassessment. Now What?

Environmental Impact Assessments are “crucial in advancing environmentally friendly development” (United Nations 2018). Environmental Impact Assessments, if conducted honestly by people with appropriate skill-sets, are the most cost-effective tools for helping decision-makers to make decisions wisely, in the long-term interests … read more