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Baekryeong Island, October 14-16

Bird News from Nial Moores

More deskwork interrupted time on Baekryeong, with a half-day in the west and northwest on the 14th; eight hours in Jincheon on the 15th; and a full day in the field on the 16th, divided between Jincheon, Dumujin and YeonhwaRi.  In addition to (occasional!) good views of species like Taiga Flycatcher, Siberian Rubythroat and Yellow-bellied Tit, highlights have included single Pied Harrier and Little Owl on the 14th; a calling Japanese Leaf Warbler seen briefly and a party of Long-tailed Tit seen on the 15th which included five white-headed birds, one typical magnus and one obvious intergrade; and on 16th, a possible Willow Warbler, and single (definite!) Greater Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Bittern and Yellow-legged Buttonquail – my personal first record of this formerly regular species since 2010.

rs-taigafly-380Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla © Nial Moores

rs-ybandcoaltit-DSC09553Yellow-bellied Tit Pardaliparus venustulus (left) and Coal Tit Periparus ater © Nial Moores

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rs-littleowl-419Little Owl Athene (noctua) plumipes © Nial Moores

rs-gspottedeagle988Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga © Nial Moores

Even more impressive has been the high number of some species.  For example, on the 16th in Jincheon there were hundreds of buntings, including 150+ Black-faced and smaller numbers of Yellow-throated, Yellow-browed, Chestnut-eared, Little, Rustic, Tristram’s and Chestnut Buntings, and at least 4,400 Brambling,  with another 100+ Black-faced Bunting and Brambling each in the west of the island, most of the latter species watched heading out to sea.

rs-tristrams9489Tristram’s Buntings Emberiza tristrami © Nial Moores

rs-ytbunt579Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans © Nial Moores

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rs-brambling9858Bramblings Coelebs montifringilla © Nial Moores

In addition,  there has been a steady but rapid build-up on the island in the numbers of Eastern Great (from 25 noted on the 12th to 254 on the 16th) and Coal Tits (from zero on the 12th to 10 on the 13th and 200 on the 16th) with many of these birds watched spirraling up and heading out to sea, suggesting that a double irruption might be underway.  Of interest, most of the Eastern Great Tit seen on Baekryeong back in August were juveniles; and by late September large numbers of both Eastern Great and Coal Tits, as well as the first Yellow-bellied Tits, were back in Igidae in Busan.

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rs-irruption773Coal Tits (with Eastern Great Tit Parus minor behind) © Nial Moores

All images digiscoped through a truly superb Swarovski scope…

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