Bird news from Dr. Bernhard Seliger, Dr. Choi Hyun-Ah (Hanns Seidel Foundation, Birds Korea) with Kim Young-Soo, Isabelle Winter (Hanns Seidel Foundation)
Our trip to Goseong – the divided county on the East Coast which is also the northernmost county in South Korea- was this time more related to forests than to birds. In the past two years there have been devastating forest fires in late spring, affecting in particular the hilly and partly populated area between the towering Seorak mountains and the sea. Hanns-Seidel-Foundation together with Goseong County will start a reforestation project in one of the places.
Nevertheless, the trip also allowed for some rapid bird surveys in some of the main areas of the county. Degradation around Ganseong Namcheon, in the South of the capital of the county, is progressing, with new road and apartment building complexes, more intense agriculture, in particular hothouses, and increased disturbance resulting from the – generally positive! – factor that border fences have been widely removed and allow an unhindered access to the beautiful beach there. Nevertheless, excellent view of a Pechora Pipit and a Common Snipe, as well as Oriental Reed Warblers (at least 15 pairs), Common Sandpipers, Common Moorhen and Little Grebe in the reed areas were possible. Along the road to Geonbong temple, which leads through the CCZ, and along the road to the DMZ museum directly at the inter-Korean border Bull-headed Shrike and Brown Shrike, Common Cuckoo, Blue-and-white Flycatchers and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher as well as Oriental Dollarbird were heard and seen. Also, a couple of Chinese Grosbeaks greeted us from the wire.
Hwajinpo lagoon is another area where environmental improvement in the last years unfortunately meant a transformation of the wetland areas surrounding the lagoon into a garden-type environment with convenient walkways, rest stations for bicyclists, photo spots for tourists etc. Nevertheless, also here some nice discoveries, in particular in the rice fields formally not part of the wetland. A Pacific Golden Plover, Red-necked Stints, 13 Common Sandpipers together for the night, a single Whiskered Tern, a Wood Sandpiper, Mandarin Ducks, Striated Heron, Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, more than 25 Grey Herons from the nearby colony, and three Eastern Cattle Egrets, Barn Swallows, Common Kingfishers, Oriental Reed Warblers, Little Grebes, a single Common Moorhen and a single Eurasian Coot could be found there. The reeds were full of Pallas’s Reed Buntings, hunted by a Common Kestrel and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. 25 Tufted ducks and two Eurasian Wigeons were surprisingly late migrants, maybe?
As always in Goseong, along the coast and in the small fishing villages gulls, Barn Swallows, starlings, and numerous other birds can be seen and heard, including the beautiful Blue Rock Thrush.