Bird News from Spike Millington
Birding at the University Mudflats
On the evening of October 3, Judit Szabo and I visited the mudflats near the University at Songdo, in the company of four young ladies from the Korean University Birdwatching Society. This area is the process of being reclaimed but for now contains a small area of mudflats that are only partially tidal, so that at high tide, shorebirds normally roosting at Gojan often flock here. A scan of a group of about 60 Red-necked Stints and 100 Dunlin quickly revealed a first winter Spoon-billed Sandpiper dashing along the edge of the mud, bullying Dunlin and even Greenshanks along the way. The bird was still present on October 5 and feeding actively.
Other shorebirds included 600 Eurasian Curlew, settling in for the winter, 190 Eastern Oystercatchers, 500 Common Greenshanks (included two leg-flagged birds from Australia), 3 juvenile Spotted Redshanks, 15 Great Knot, 30 Mongolian Plovers, 20 Grey Plovers and 10 Bar-tailed Godwits. These shared the mudflats with 51 Black-faced Spoonbills, 100+ Great Cormorants and 26 Common Shelducks. 30 Bean Geese flew over on the October 4, with 18 the next day. A juvenile Peregrine occasionally put up all the shorebirds (usually in mid-count, grrr!).
27 Black-faced Spoonbills were at Gojan and a further 2 on Namdong Reservoir. Also at a bird-crowded Namdong on October 3 were 900 Spot-billed Ducks, 200 Shoveler, 150 Eurasian Teal, 10+ Gadwall and single Mallards and Pintail, all in boring eclipse plumage. On the stream were 40 Greenshanks, 2 Common Redshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Snipe.