Bird News from Barry Reed, Toby Austin & Mike (Mick) Ilett with Nial Moores
Major highlights included a flock of 140 Pine Bunting, an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle and a Greater Spotted Eagle, six Scaly-sided Merganser, at least four Steller’s Sea Eagle, single Yellow-billed Loon and Swan Goose, 130 Asian Rosy Finch, and views of single Grey and Snow Buntings.
In bright and cold conditions on February 2nd at the National Arboretum we found three Solitary Snipe and three Mandarin Duck on the main stream, and also logged 1-2 White-backed Woodpecker, 2-4 Yellow-bellied Tit, several Naumann’s and a single Dusky Thrush (and at least one hybrid between them), but only heard single Pallas’s Rosefinch and Eurasian Bullfinch.
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata © Nial Moores
In the afternoon at Cheorwon, best in the Korean context was a flock of 140+ Pine Bunting (a new national high count?) and an adult Eastern Imperial Eagle; while more expected were small numbers of White-naped and Red-crowned Cranes, c. 50 Cinereous Vulture, 2-3 White-tailed Eagle, a single Long-tailed Rosefinch and a heard only Siberian Accentor.
Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos © Nial Moores
Adult Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca © Nial Moores
On the 3rd, an excellent morning started with an adult and a Second Calendar-year Steller’s Sea Eagle on the Han River, followed soon after by a First-winter Glaucous and 30+ Mongolian Gulls, single Swan Goose and six Scaly-sided Merganser.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus (exceptional inland in the ROK) and First-winter Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus © Nial Moores
Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus © Nial Moores
A long drive to the mountain near Taebaek added Asian Rosy Finch (130) and a single Snow Bunting still, with Pallas’s Rosefinch again heard but not seen.
Asian Rosy Finch Leucosticte arctoa © Nial Moores
On the 4th at Guryongpo, there were good numbers of Rhinoceros Auklet (several hundred) and several small flocks of Ancient Murrelet (perhaps 100 in total), along with a single Yellow-billed Loon and a good assortment of gulls. We also enjoyed good views of Temminck’s Cormorant and Harlequin Duck (at least 20-30 of each) and small numbers of Horned and Black-necked Grebes. In the afternoon, a visit to Gyeongju National Park was largely uneventful, with best 1+ Yellow-bellied Tit and two Siberian Accentor heard.
Temminck’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus © Nial Moores
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus © Nial Moores
Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus © Nial Moores
On the 5th, highlights at the Nakdong Estuary included four or five Relict Gull (two First-winters and 2-3 Second-winters), c. 10 Saunders’s Gull, two or three adult Steller’s Sea Eagle (including one chasing off an adult White-tailed), a single Greater Spotted Eagle, 19 Far Eastern Oystercatcher (a personal high count here) and (yet another overwintering) Red-throated Pipit. In woodland there we also saw a female Grey Bunting (and heard a second), a male Red-flanked Bluetail and several Pale Thrush.
First-winter Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus © Nial Moores
Steller’s Sea Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus © Nial Moores
All images digiscoped with a handheld Sony compact camera through a truly superb Swarovski scope…