Bird News from Nial Moores with Mike Danzenbaker, Lee Hung and Angus Wilson
On the 4th, a quick trip to the Nakdong Estuary prospecting for Relict Gull (by NM only) ended without success – though an outstanding highlight came in the form of the over-wintering Caspian Tern still.
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia © Nial Moores
On the 5th, birding along the (south) Goseong Coast – including three hours in the boat – we found a total of 67 species, with highlights that included c. 80 Spectacled Guillemot (including 55 in a single scan), three distant Long-billed Murrelet, 200 each of Ancient Murrelet and Rhinoceros Auklet, 500+ Red-necked Grebe and single Horned Grebe (latter species very scarce here) and at least eight Siberian Accentor. Although there were many fewer gulls in Daejin compared with the last two winters, these still included a single Glaucous-winged Gull and a “northwestern Mongolian/ Taimyr type”.
Spectacled Guillemot Cepphus carbo: top two images © Angus Wilson (Oceanwanderers.com); below, in flight © Mike Danzenbaker
Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata © Angus Wilson (Oceanwanderers.com)
“Northwestern Mongolian-Taimyr Type” © Nial Moores
On the 6th, a couple of hours on the Geojin headland, followed by another three hours at sea and two hours in and around Ayajin, produced multiple highlights, including on the Geojin headland two Naumann’s Thrush, 20+ confiding Eurasian Siskin and 2+ Long-tailed Rosefinch
Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus © Nial Moores
Long-tailed Rosefinch Carpodacus sibiricus © Nial Moores
Although the weather forecast was not so promising, the wind dropped and the seas calmed. From the boat, bird of the trip so far (!!) was Long-billed Murrelet – three in total, with two well-photographed – with a good number and diversity of other seabirds including seven Brunnich’s and 16 Common Murres (and 3+ murre sp.), at least 790 Ancient Murrelet and 255 Rhinoceros Auklet and a single Yellow-billed Loon.
Long-billed Murrelet Brachyramphus perdix © Angus Wilson (Oceanwanderers.com)
Long-billed Murrelet © Mike Danzenbaker
Common Murre Uria aalge © Angus Wilson (Oceanwanderers.com)
Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus © Angus Wilson (Oceanwanderers.com)
The day finished at Ayajin, where there was a cracking First-winter Mongolian Gull and a wonderful ID challenge provided by a First-winter Slaty-backed-type Gull (hybrid and/or aberrant!) with an oily dark grey-wash suggesting east Pacific influence and an oddly long, narrow and largely pink bill.
Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus © Nial Moores
Hybrid-type gull (right) with Vega Gull Larus vegae (left) © Nial Moores
Huge thanks to Angus Wilson and Mike Danzenbaker for allowing use of their stunning images. The images by Nial Moores were taken with a handheld camera through a truly superb Swarovski scope…