Hwajinpo, February 19-20

Bird News from Subhojit Chakladar

Starting on the New Chinese/Lunar New Year day in a rain soaked Sokcho, both the lakes in the city were unbelievably void of bird life. With a constant drizzle, strong winds and ominous clouds over the East Sea, it was not a promising start. However, later in the day, the weather improved and selected spots of the sea revealed an abundance of loons and grebes. I decided to make Hwajinpo as my base of exploration. The lake itself was disappointing but the surroundings provided some entertainment in form of a group of playful Long-tailed Rosefinches, 2 dozen Siskins, a few very vocal Siberain Accentors (most of them were invisible) and a single female Pallas’ Rosefinch. Scan of the sea from a few high vantage points revealed a lot of distant movements of what seemed to be loons (too distant to clearly make out through bins). There were evidence of a lot of Arctic Loons relatively close to the shore, as were Red-breasted Mergansers.

Next day, a quick scan of the sea from the Hwajinpo Condo revealed a group of Red-necked Grebes just beyond the surf. The small bay of Chodo, had a group of White-winged Scoters and good numbers of Harlequin Ducks. At the Daejin lighthouse, a lot of thrushes were seen – most of them Naumann’s. There was a single Azure-winged Magpie. There were 2 Glaucous Gulls on the beach next to the lighthouse. A couple of hours on a boat from the Daejin harbor once again revealed a lot of movement of loons. There were close views of at least 4 groups of Arctic and 1 Pacific Loon. Alcids, however, were very very few indeed. Only 1 Spectacled Guillemot and 2 Thick-billed Murres (both only seen in flight).

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