Baekryeong Island, May 29~30

Birding news from Subhojit Chakladar

With some unstable and frequently changing weather prediction, I thought it’d be worthwhile to check out Baekryeong island in the tail end of spring. This was a solo trip (and an intense one!). Of the 24 hours spent on the island, I birded for around 15 hours (12:30~20:40 on 29th and 4:30~11:20 on 30th). There was a rain system moving over the northern part of the Yellow Sea from the west which resulted in rain on the island till about 3pm on 29th after which it cleared out and winds shifted towards the east.

May 29th

I started off by checking the patch of woodland behind the church in Jincheon. It produced singing Manchurian Bush Warbler, a few Common Cuckoo, an Oriental Cuckoo, calling Ruddy-breasted Crake, a small party of Black-naped Oriole, a Great-spotted Woodpecker, singing Forest Wagtail, a couple of Chinese Egret, 3 Amur Falcon, about 40 Oriental Greenfinch, 2 Black Drongo and 3 Grey-tailed Tattler on the rocky shoreline.

Later driving westwards, I came across a Black-capped Kingfisher at approximately the same location we had seen in a week ago. There were also quite a few Chinese Pond Heron and Grey Wagtail. With the sun coming out after a spell of rain, I reached the NW corner of the island as Barn Swallow and Red-rumped Swallow became active. An Olive-backed Pipit and a Red-throated Pipit were also flying around. A couple of Hobby were also busy feeding on insects on their wings.

Driving southwards via the rice-fields and degraded reedbeds, I heard (and glimpsed a few) quite a few Oriental Reed Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler. A circuit of the reservoir on the SW corner of the island produced a calling Oriental Scops Owl, singing Thick-billed Warbler, a Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler, a Striated Heron, more Chinese Pond Heron (they were just everywhere!), 2 Eyebrowed Thrush, quite a few Arctic Warbler, a Radde’s Warbler, 1 Dark-sided Flycatcher, a Two-barred Warbler, a few Black-faced Bunting and Yellow-throated Bunting.

Black-capped Kingfisher, Halcyon pileata
Two-barred Warbler, Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus

Closer to sunset, I visit the wetland in Hwadong which seemed quite active. There was a Pied Harrier floating over the reedbed, a Purple Heron, 2 Common Sandpiper, a group of about 16 Black-winged Stilt, a Northern Shoveler, a group of 25 Cattle Egret and the strangest of all – a Spotted Deer! Continuing to bird after sunset, I heard another Ruddy-breasted Crake and a distant Grey Nightjar. In all 73 species were observed.

Spotted Deer, Axis axis … an obviously introduced species!

Link to eBird checlist for the day: May 29th checklist

May 30th

Starting pre-dawn, I drove to the reservoir on the SW corner of the island. A singing Lanceolated Warbler from the car. A circuit around the reservoir showed a reduced number and diversity of birds – an Indian Cuckoo, calling Common Cuckoo, 3 Black Drongo, a Tiger Shrike, a few Black-naped Oriole, singing Pallas’ Grasshopper Warbler, a few Brown Shrike, a Kamchatka Leaf Warbler, an Ashy Minivet, 4 Chestnut-flanked White-eye, 2 Meadow Bunting and 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker. Later in the morning, driving northward, I came across a party of 4 Purple Heron flying over the island headed north as well as a Chinese Sparrowhawk soaring.

Black-browed Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

I spent the last hour in the Jincheon area which had quite a few Red-rumped Swallow. One individual appeared rather small (smaller than the Barn Swallow flying close to it) and strangely short tailed! At first I thought it was a martin but closer looked revealed streaks on the breast. Expert opinion on the photos below is welcome.

There was also a group of 3 Amur Falcon (perhaps the same group from the previous day) busy hovering and hunting for insects. In all 53 species for the day.

Amur Falcon, Falco amurensis

Link to eBird checklist for the day: May 30th checklist

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