Bird News from Nial Moores with Park Hea-Jeong (Hwaseong KFEM) and Jung Hanchul
On 17th, in exceptionally mild but dull conditions we found 93 species in total. On 17th, dawn saw a flight out of roost of >54,000 geese and the discovery of a Pied Avocet, initially trying to hide in amongst Mallard but which was later joined by five tardy Black-winged Stilts; a search of several thousand Aythya on the main reclamation lake revealed at least one Ferruginous Duck (<10 records annually), along with one hybrid; while overhead migrant landbirds included a group of eight Red Crossbill and 15 Light-vented Bulbul.
Further counts along the shoreline and adjacent wetlands turned up a single pale morph Upland Buzzard, two White-tailed Eagle; and two Scaly-sided Merganser (apparently a first record for this site).
On one pond a Whooper Swan with a thick neck collar (indicating a back-pack, more or less hidden at rest); 45 gorgeous Ruddy Shelduck (out of a day total of almost a thousand); and several Eurasian Spoonbill and Northern Lapwing feeding close-by.
The afternoon high tide – a massive one of 9.5m – brought in over 100 Saunders’s Gulls and three lingering Far Eastern Curlew; and the evening added a lone Oriental Stork (one of apparently 105 found in the past week or two in the ROK, this via Dr Kim Su-Kyung) – and off in the distance a juvenile-type Black-winged Kite – perhaps the third record here of a species with fewer than 20 national records. Geese flocks returning to roost as night fell on the lake contained five or more calling Lesser White-fronteds.
On 18th, in continuing heavy overcast and warm southerlies, dawn started with more goose counts and the Oriental Stork again, calling Eastern Water Rail and two singing Bluethroat, and overhead several Pallas’s Rosefinch.
In rice-fields, a Merlin was in pursuit of a flock of at least 260 Lapland Longspur; and a Chinese Grey Shrike was perched up on wires. The afternoon was quieter – with time spent helping with a documentary (the third one being filmed here currently!) – with an ID challenge provided by a very pale-below Peregrine Falcon, suggesting a far northern origin: calidus or ‘northern’ japonensis?
Since late June, as part of a project funded by Hwaseong City and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, we have now counted over 114,000 waterbirds of 106 species at this site (with another 100 or so landbird species too). We have also found 19 of these waterbird species in concentrations of 1% or more of population. Simply stunning.