January 12, National Arboretum and nearby area

Bird News from Nial Moores with Mike Danzenbaker, Lee Hung and Angus Wilson

In continuing very cold conditions, with a dawn low of -18C and a high of -8C, most of the day was spent at the National Arboretum east of Seoul, where winter highlights included at least four Solitary Snipe (two of which had heavily-frosted upperparts…), and excellent views of several of 10-15 Pallas’s Rosefinch, 15-20 Eurasian Bullfinch (including one possible male cineracea), c.3 Red Crossbill heard, and a good range of resident forest species. These included 1-2 Black Woodpecker heard; and good views of several White-backed and Grey-headed Woodpeckers and what appeared to be a particularly pale Marsh Tit (due to wear or light conditions?).

The only low point came from seeing the behaviour of several over-excited photographers, none of which seemed to appreciate – or even care – that birds can be disturbed by shouting or by being approached too closely. It is clear that ever-greater care is needed when posting locations of “good birds” if excessive disturbance is to be avoided – especially following the death of last winter’s Great Bustard, no doubt caused at least in part by excessive flushing.

Our otherwise excellent day ended watching an Eurasian Eagle-Owl at roost at a regular site for the species – a location which we all agreed needs to be kept off ebird and other information-sharing sites to avoid unneccessary disturbance to the bird(s).

rs-frostedsolitaries05348Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria © Nial Moores

rs-pallasrosefinch05396

rs-pallassrosefinch05557Adult male Pallas’s Rosefinch Carpodacus roseus © Nial Moores

rs-bullfinch-05374Male Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula rosacea © Nial Moores

rs-marshtit-jan201805624Marsh Tit Poecile palustris hellmayri  © Nial Moores. Note the pale mark on the upper mandible, typical of this species in both Western Europe and at least parts of East Asia (e.g. see this post from Shanghai).

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