Goseong, September 23

Dr. Bernhard Seliger and Dr. Hyun-Ah Choi (both Hanns Seidel Foundation and Birds Korea), Prof. Amaël Borzée (Nanjing Forestry University)

A short survey of some of the our usual check-points along with a discussion with officials of Goseong as well as representatives of the local Korean Federation of Environmental Movements (KFEM) on the installation of frog ladders, which will fortunately happen later in October to save frogs returning from the rice fields to their wintering grounds did not bring many surprises, but more confirmation of the ongoing destruction of habitats in many places.

At Ganseong Namcheon, the huge new bridge and street just a few dozen meters from the beach (in parallel to the huge new highway a kilometer to the West and the old road parallel to the highway, a clear overkill) is ready and the habitat in the once beautiful reed area of Namcheon estuary has been more and more reduced. Not many surprises there: Spot-billed Ducks and four Eurasian Teals, Great Egrets and Grey Herons, Great Cormorants, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Common Greenshanks, still a lot of Barn Swallows as well as at least one Red-rumped Swallow, a Common Kingfisher and a Japanese Wagtail.

At Hwajinpo lagoon, the edges of the lagoon, formerly untidy reedbeds rich in biodiversity, have been beautified and domesticated, and every time we return there, a new additional way has been built through the reeds, further reducing the last undisturbed patches. Since most ways are broad enough, no wonder that (illegal) sports fishermen drive up to the lagoon – at least we saw the local Goseong authorities enforcing the fishing ban in the lake, an encouraging sign. Pallas’s Reed Buntings will likely still be abundant here, but otherwise the reed areas were disturbed until nightfall by visitors, who certainly like to enjoy the nature and the stunning combination of mountains, lake and sea; it would be wonderful if a better way to reconcile their love for nature and the needs of species for undisturbed retreats could be found!

Lastly, a Peregrine Falcon at one of the spectacular rock formations just out of Geojin harbour – and the falcon, plus dozens of gulls only were able to enjoy the rock, because due to Covid-19 concerns the hideous new bridge for tourists, linking this absolutely unnecessarily to the mainland, had been closed…

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis © Bernhard Seliger
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus © Bernhard Seliger
Japanese Wagtail Motacilla grandis © Bernhard Seliger
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus © Bernhard Seliger
…not a bird… a Short-tailed Pit Viper Gloydius brevicaudus hunting in the water © Amaël Borzée
Still so beautiful, but too much disturbed – the former wetlands, now parks at the edges of Hwajinpo lagoon lake in Goseong © Bernhard Seliger

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