Bird News from Nial Moores with Hwaseong KFEM’s Park Hea-Jeong and Jung Hanchul
Four more days spent in the field at one of the ROK’s premier shorebird sites as part of this EAAFP and Hwaseong City-led project, with highlights up to eight (or more) Greater Painted-snipe; a single cracking Whiskered Tern; and more than 4,600 shorebirds, with 25 shorebird species in total logged in the wetland. Clearly, even though we are still in the middle of a rather wet rainy season, autumn is also already here…
Some of the more notable records included:
Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca. One or two heard briefly, including one at close range on the 9th.
Mongolian Plover Charadrius mongolus. The high count was 40 together on the 7th.
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii. Two on the 7th.
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis. National Natural Monument #449. After much searching, two patches of rice-fields 2km apart at dusk were found to support 7-8 (if all females) to 10+ (if we also heard males) vocalising individuals. Record shots were obtained of one pair . Although three or four of the birds gave the expected “hooting song”, the birds also gave several other more jacana-like notes, sometimes in the form of a duet, other times heard from apparently lone birds. (There are some brilliant examples of the “hooting song” and some other variations on Youtube, e.g. here and here).
Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis. EN. Numbers have increased steadily since the last survey, with at least 1,310 present on the 10th.
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata. NT. Numbers have increased rapidly since the last survey, with at least 1,580 present on the 10th. Of especial note, a large proportion of the birds have initiated primary moult – unlike the accompanying Far Easterns.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa. NT. Numbers fluctuated daily, with the highest day count 177 on the 7th. On the 9th, the first bird in largely non-breeding type plumage was seen.
Broad-billed Sandpiper Calidris falcinellus. One was with a small flock of Dunlin on the 7th.
Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi. VU. First seen on July 7th, with nine or ten (including two juveniles) present on 10th.
Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris. The most numerous species counted during the survey, with 2,700, including the first 13 juveniles of the year, on July 7th
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida. A splendidly-plumaged and surprisingly confiding adult was seen in the rice-fields on July 8th.
Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. EN. Numbers continue to build steadily, with a conservative 133 counted on July 8th. This is more than 6% of the total population estimated by Wetlands International (2020), based on a 2012 estimate; and is 2.7% of the total of 4,864 recorded by the 2020 international winter census of the species (EAAFP 2020).
Striated Heron Butorides striata. The first juvenile of the year was seen on July 8th.
Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes. VU. Numbers remain small, with the highest count so far a modest eight on the 10th.
Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo. Five or six seen perched out in the open on the 7th (with perhaps several more present in areas we did not visit) suggests that at least two pairs of this species include part of the FNS in their home-ranges.
Little Owl Athene noctua plumipes. A sharp, slightly bisysllabic call heard three times from a flying bird on the 7th was most likely this species. The species is currently considered to be a very local winter visitor to the ROK (including some years to this site) with perhaps only one breeding record. However, Little Owls appear to be fairly widespread only 100km or so to the north, so are presumably being overlooked?
A much more detailed report has already been written and shared with the EAAFP Secretariat. If any Birds Korea members would like to receive a copy of this or of any other survey report, please let us know!