South-east, December 31, 2018 & January 2, 2019

Bird News from Nial Moores with Jason Loghry

On December 31, much of the day was spent in Taejongdae in Busan where highlights included good views of one (rather self-conscious!) White’s Thrush, Red-flanked Bluetail, good numbers of Japanese White-eye and Yellow-bellied Tit (with 21 of the latter), and a small movement of loons offshore, with 35 Pacific counted going south in only 15 minutes. Miss of the day was a small glossy-black above thrush seen briefly, which was most likely a Grey Thrush.

White’s Thrush Zoothera aurea
© Nial Moores
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus
© Nial Moores
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus
© Nial Moores

A full list of birds seen can be found on eBird at: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S51111462

On January 2, we spent the morning along the Guryongpo Peninsula. Strong westerly winds with white-caps and temperatures near freezing were not well-compensated for by the birds – with only small numbers of gulls (e.g. only nine Glaucous and 55 Slaty-backed Gulls), two individual alcids (a single Ancient Murrelet and Rhinoceros Auklet) with the only species present in good numbers being Black-necked Grebe, with 790 counted.

Adult Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus with Vega Gulls Larus vegae
© Nial Moores
Slaty-backed Gulls Larus schistisagus
© Nial Moores

The very good decision was therefore made to head to Junam for the late afternoon. With increasing awareness of management, some fields used by feeding White-naped Cranes were being kept clear of visitors; and the area of wet field has been increased – much to the liking of seven Swan Geese and a single highly unseasonal Black-tailed Godwit.

White-naped Crane Antigone vipio
© Nial Moores . Note “K01” on the left.
Swan Geese Anser cygnoides
© Nial Moores
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
© Nial Moores
Jason Loghry…All smiles at Junam!
© Nial Moores

On the main reservoir itself, crowds of birds were concentrated into ice-free areas. Although there were very oddly no Aythya here, highlights nonetheless included a single young Steller’s Sea Eagle (perhaps my first at this site), a distant Eurasian Bittern spotted spectacularly by JL; small numbers of Baikal Teal (perhaps 160 in total); and at least 260 White-naped Cranes in the evening. As is so often the case, Junam also provided “one that got away”: we heard 2-3 notes very suggestive of Western Water Rail two or three times as we walked back to the car…

One comment on “South-east, December 31, 2018 & January 2, 2019

  1. Small gull species count at Choshi, Chiba, Japan on 1/1, too—lots of Vegas, of course, but could not find any Common, Glaucous or Kittiwakes! Just a 1st-year Glaucous-winged and a 1st-year smithsonianus. Perhaps normal numbers will appear later?

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