Bird News from Robin Newlin
Many thanks to Dr. Jung Jiseok and Miss Han Gasun of the Border Peace School for all sorts of help and hospitality. Clear weather and relative warmth in Cheolweon; patchy snow on the ground and thin ice on the larger streams and ponds. Highlights from the afternoon of Nov. 30: about 100 White-naped Cranes and 30 Red-crowned Cranes, mostly in small “family groups” of 3 or 4. One brief Upland Buzzard and a few slow-circling Eastern Buzzards. Even slower, 4 Cinereous Vultures. Also 2 Common Kestrels and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Several Common Pheasants. One distant skein of Bean Geese and a few flocks (c.500 and 200 birds) of White-fronted Geese. On So-i-San, several Great Tits, 3 Yellow-throated Buntings, a Eurasian Nuthatch, and a very welcome male and female Pallas’ Rosefinch. Also from the car—a fast drive-by/fly-by flock over the fields of likely (from structure and flight) Lapland Longspurs—at least 100.
The morning of the 1st dawned very foggy: rising temperatures meeting snow and ice. A stop at the heavily shrouded lake hinted at many hundreds of geese on the water, Beans and White-fronts both; about 60 Mallards swam within sight and a single Whooper Swan flew out of the murk. Later, the sun rose and the fog dissipated; we spent the rest of the morning watching cranes (with probably 50+ Red-crowns) and crane society, wonderfully complex and cooperative—skylarks calling overhead.