East Busan, April 2-6

Bird News from Nial Moores

Three visits to Igidae in east Busan in search of early spring migrants in weather that changed from sunny and warm (max. 19C) on 2nd; to heavy overcast with rain showers  and cooler (max 13C) north-easterlies on the 4th; to persistent rain overnight of the 5th into the 6th, with the sun breaking through again for the afternoon. In total 60 or so species were logged.

The main road through the park…© Nial Moores

On April 2nd, species of greatest note included a close-in Pacific Loon, c. 10 Eurasian Sparrowhawk in off the sea, two Grey-faced Buzzard, 200+ Rook north, 12-15 Yellow-bellied Tit, including 2-3 in persistent song, 25 Barn Swallow, single Asian House Martin (apparently increasingly scarce in the ROK) and Red-rumped Swallow and Korean Bush Warbler, two Asian Stubtail, and single Grey-backed Thrush, Red-flanked Bluetail and Siberian Accentor heard.

Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica © Nial Moores. With these kind of views most of the key ID features separating Pacific from Arctic Loons (described in detail by Birch and Lee 1997) are pretty easy to see – even though the flanks and vent are hidden. Structurally, the crown lacks a sharp peak and instead slopes gently to the bill;  there is a  slightly rounded rear to the crown (though looking flatter than in many Pacifics due to feather condition) and the neck is pushed forward, with the bill held close to the horizontal rather than tilted up as in most Arctics. Plumage-wise, the bird has dark auriculars, with dark extending below the eye; an obvious chin-strap; and also a contrastingly paler ash-grey nape.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus © Nial Moores

On April 4th, 18-20 Streaked Shearwater were ‘blogging’ close to shore, and  single Grey-backed Thrush and Red-flanked Bluetail were seen, while a small mixed flock of thrushes contained c. 10 Pale (out of 25 logged during the day), a White’s (heard only), 1-2 Naumann’s (scarce in Busan), 2+ Dusky and best of all a female Brown-headed Thrush.

Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus © Nial Moores

On April 6th, at least one Grey-faced Buzzard, a couple dozen Barn and Red-rumped Swallows, at least eight Yellow-bellied Tit still, a single Light-vented Bulbul, at least two Grey-backed Thrush, single adult male Grey Thrush and (Second Calendar-year?) male Brown-headed Thrush, at least four Asian Stubtail and best for the day a singing Siberian Blue Robin – sadly remaining invisible.

Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus © Nial Moores

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