While the ever-increasing amount of infrastructure destroys habitats almost everywhere in Korea and also does not stop in the border area, it is still a good place to go year-round to see species rare elsewhere in the country. In the latest short visit to Goseong County in Gangwon-do, at the Northeastern end of South Korea, a divided county in divided Gangwon province, the highlights were three kinds of shrikes (Bull-headed shrike, Brown shrike, Tiger shrike) and three kinds of kingfishers (Common kingfisher, Ruddy kingfisher, Black-capped kingfisher). In preparation of a trip with students of German School Seoul International to the border area, a short survey was carried out on June 25 and the early morning of June 26 along the Seongjongri eco-trail as well as along the wetlands of Hwajinpo and Ganseong Namcheon in Goseong county.
Ruddy Kingfishers were heard in five different locations in and around Hwajinpo and Seongjongri eco-trail.
A black-capped Kingfisher was seen in Hwajinpo, and Common Kingfishers could be spotted there as well as in various other locations.
Tiger shrikes were seen near the Civilian Control Zone (CCZ) as well as the Seongjongri eco-trail.
Brown shrikes were seen at the Seongjong-ri eco-trail as well as around Hwajinpo.
A Yellow bittern was nicely perched on reeds at Namcheon of Ganseong, which, sadly enough, is more and more surrounded by heavy buildings projects – apartments from the Ganseong side, and the new over-sized road and bridge towards the sea.
A Chinese Pond Heron was another surprise at Hwajinpo lagoon.
Also, two Brown Dippers were seen in the small stream near Seongjong-Ri eco-trail.
Finally, a Chestnut-cheeked Starling – a rather interesting record (either suggesting an early southward migrating failed breeder; or indicating local breeding; thanks to NM for this identification!)