Bird news from Subhojit Chakladar (with Dr Nial Moores from 30th onwards)
Early fall migration watch on the occasion of Korean Thanksgiving holidays. In general the number of species seemed rather limited and the ones present seemed rather skittish (as is usual during fall). The weather ranged from bright and sunny from 26th to 30th, hazy sunshine on 1st, a spell of high winds and rain on the morning of 2nd and generally sunny on 3rd.
The ferry ride from Incheon produced only a single Streaked Shearwater. Lack of outside access could have been one of the reasons for limited visibility. Once on the island, we surveyed the Jinchon area. There was evidence of movement of Rufous Turtle Dove, which were present in large numbers. Apart from that, 2 Amur Falcon and 3 Blyth’s Pipit were other birds of note.
Starting early in the morning in Dumujin, 2 flocks of Chestnut-flanked White-eye totaling to about 30 birds and a kettle of 52 Crested Honey Buzzard were the highlights of the morning. The wetland area had 2 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Little Ringed Plover.
Visiting the same areas in the afternoon yielded a Black Stork and a Black-winged Stilt as new birds of note for the day.
The morning was spent around a reservoir in the south west of the island where highlights included a flock of 24 Yellow-bellied Tit, 27 Crested Honey Buzzard, 24 Black Kite and an Osprey.
New birds for the day were 2 Pallas’s Leaf Warbler and a party of Long-tailed Tit in the east of the island, an Asian Brown Flycatcher, a Pacific Swift, 2 Common Rosefinch in flight, 4 Chestnut Bunting in flight and a Long-toed Stint near the wetlands.
Day spent moving around various habitats yielding quite a few interesting species. Starting with observing overhead movement of birds early in the morning primarily consisting of Olive-backed Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Yellow-browed Bunting, Chestnut Bunting. Later in the morning a very interesting looking Eastern Marsh Harrier (or perhaps hybrid?) was seen in the the rice fields towards the center of the island which had some features more expected of Western Marsh Harrier, most especially the dark band on a pale head. The proper identification of the bird is perhaps still pending (photos of the bird can be seen in the e-bird checklist for the day. Thanks to Prof Todd Hull for the images). An Eastern Buzzard and 2 Chinese Grey Shrike were also seen in the same area. Another Black Stork (or maybe the same individual) was seen being harassed by the resident Peregrine and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
A full circuit of the key areas on the east and center of the island yielded a good mix of species. Black-browed Reed Warbler, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Red-rumped Swallow, Brambling, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin, Asian House Martin were new birds added to the list in the morning. The highlight was a single kettle of 53 Black Kite near the wetlands. In the afternoon, 3 Pied Harrier were seen in the rice fields towards the center of the island while a Ruddy-breasted Crake was seen in a wet ditch in Jinchon. Oriental Reed Warbler was also a new addition to the list.
Surveying many key sections of the island provided a good mix and number of species though many of them were difficult to see well. Highlights included a Long-toed Stint, 6 Common Snipe, a Whiskered Tern, an Eastern Marsh Harrier, 3 Pied Harrier, 2 Eastern Buzzard (seen from afar with possible characteristics of Upland Buzzard), Zitting Cisticola, Dusky Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Chestnut-cheeked Starling. Additionally, a yellow wagtail seen in the wetlands showed characteristics of Eastern Yellow Wagtail (macronyx) or Western Yellow Wagtail (thunbergi). Even though a possible western was heard in the area, the bird photographed didn’t vocalize which makes drawing a firm conclusion difficult. Expert comment based on the image below would be highly appreciated.
The morning session on the island added 2 Ashy Minivet to the list. The return journey over calm seas was quite productive. No less than 12 Pomarine Skua, 6 Common Tern, ~30 Streaked Shearwater (with distant views of possible Flesh-footed Shearwater) and several Finless Porpoise were seen about 2 hours east of the island.
Thanks to Prof Todd Hull, Dr Soyoung Sung and Prof Jiwone Lee for their company in the field.