Baekryeong Island, September 26th~Oct 3rd

Bird news from Subhojit Chakladar (with Dr Nial Moores from 30th onwards)

Early fall migration watch on the occasion of Korean Thanksgiving holidays. In general the number of species seemed rather limited and the ones present seemed rather skittish (as is usual during fall). The weather ranged from bright and sunny from 26th to 30th, hazy sunshine on 1st, a spell of high winds and rain on the morning of 2nd and generally sunny on 3rd.

September 26th

The ferry ride from Incheon produced only a single Streaked Shearwater. Lack of outside access could have been one of the reasons for limited visibility. Once on the island, we surveyed the Jinchon area. There was evidence of movement of Rufous Turtle Dove, which were present in large numbers. Apart from that, 2 Amur Falcon and 3 Blyth’s Pipit were other birds of note.

September 27th

Starting early in the morning in Dumujin, 2 flocks of Chestnut-flanked White-eye totaling to about 30 birds and a kettle of 52 Crested Honey Buzzard were the highlights of the morning. The wetland area had 2 Wood Sandpiper and 2 Little Ringed Plover.

Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus

Visiting the same areas in the afternoon yielded a Black Stork and a Black-winged Stilt as new birds of note for the day.

September 28th

The morning was spent around a reservoir in the south west of the island where highlights included a flock of 24 Yellow-bellied Tit, 27 Crested Honey Buzzard, 24 Black Kite and an Osprey.

Chinese Grey Shrike Lanius sphenocercus

September 29th

New birds for the day were 2 Pallas’s Leaf Warbler and a party of Long-tailed Tit in the east of the island, an Asian Brown Flycatcher, a Pacific Swift, 2 Common Rosefinch in flight, 4 Chestnut Bunting in flight and a Long-toed Stint near the wetlands.

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

September 30th

Day spent moving around various habitats yielding quite a few interesting species. Starting with observing overhead movement of birds early in the morning primarily consisting of Olive-backed Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Yellow-browed Bunting, Chestnut Bunting. Later in the morning a very interesting looking Eastern Marsh Harrier (or perhaps hybrid?) was seen in the the rice fields towards the center of the island which had some features more expected of Western Marsh Harrier, most especially the dark band on a pale head. The proper identification of the bird is perhaps still pending (photos of the bird can be seen in the e-bird checklist for the day. Thanks to Prof Todd Hull for the images). An Eastern Buzzard and 2 Chinese Grey Shrike were also seen in the same area. Another Black Stork (or maybe the same individual) was seen being harassed by the resident Peregrine and Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
Odd-looking harrier: composite of three images by Prof. Todd Hull and one by Dr. Nial Moores (bottom right)

October 1st

A full circuit of the key areas on the east and center of the island yielded a good mix of species. Black-browed Reed Warbler, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Red-rumped Swallow, Brambling, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Sand Martin, Asian House Martin were new birds added to the list in the morning. The highlight was a single kettle of 53 Black Kite near the wetlands. In the afternoon, 3 Pied Harrier were seen in the rice fields towards the center of the island while a Ruddy-breasted Crake was seen in a wet ditch in Jinchon. Oriental Reed Warbler was also a new addition to the list.

Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos
Black-browed Reed-warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

October 2nd

Surveying many key sections of the island provided a good mix and number of species though many of them were difficult to see well. Highlights included a Long-toed Stint, 6 Common Snipe, a Whiskered Tern, an Eastern Marsh Harrier, 3 Pied Harrier, 2 Eastern Buzzard (seen from afar with possible characteristics of Upland Buzzard), Zitting Cisticola, Dusky Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Chestnut-cheeked Starling. Additionally, a yellow wagtail seen in the wetlands showed characteristics of Eastern Yellow Wagtail (macronyx) or Western Yellow Wagtail (thunbergi). Even though a possible western was heard in the area, the bird photographed didn’t vocalize which makes drawing a firm conclusion difficult. Expert comment based on the image below would be highly appreciated.

Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla tschutschensis macronyx) or Western Yellow Wagtail?

October 3rd

The morning session on the island added 2 Ashy Minivet to the list. The return journey over calm seas was quite productive. No less than 12 Pomarine Skua, 6 Common Tern, ~30 Streaked Shearwater (with distant views of possible Flesh-footed Shearwater) and several Finless Porpoise were seen about 2 hours east of the island.

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus

Thanks to Prof Todd Hull, Dr Soyoung Sung and Prof Jiwone Lee for their company in the field.

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