Siam Wetland and Hangang Estuary around Yu islet, December 20, 2021

Dr. Bernhard Seliger, Dr. Choi Hyun-Ah (Birds Korea, Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea), Amelie Schweiger (HSF Korea)

After the heavy snow of the weekend, Monday (December 20) was much warmer, but the air was rapidly worsening with fine dust and the view was limited. In the survey area in and around Yu-do (islet) and Siam wetland, streams were only partly frozen and Han river was still unfrozen, but largely empty of birds.

Highlights of the count included:

  • Around 3500 Tundra Bean Geese and 2500 Greater White-fronted Geese
  • 95 Swan Geese in the place we observed them in previous winters
  • Highlight among the raptors: a black-winged kite, wonderfully seen hunting in Siam wetland
  • Four White-tailed Sea Eagles, plus several Eastern Buzzards and (probable) Upland Buzzard, Common Kestrels, three Hen Harriers and a female Merlin
  • One Chinese Grey Shrike in the Siam area

Among the passerines, typical winter visitors like Rustic buntings, Eurasian Siskin, Brambling, and Nauman’s thrushes.

In Siam, two fields have been left with water-rich rice paddies (munon), which creates valuable habitats for birds. Besides, in this place the drainage of the landscape in concrete trenches and big pipes goes on, severely hampering biodiversity in the area. It is time to address this creeping loss of biodiversity more systematically, since once poured out, the concrete will remain for decades in the landscape. European countries like Germany now experience how expensive “re-naturalization” is, and at least partly Korea could avoid to make the same mistake.

You can find the complete bird lists here:
Yudo area: https://ebird.org/checklist/S99212882
Siam area: https://ebird.org/checklist/S99212883

Thanks as always go to Dr. Nial Moores for help with bird ID!

Swan Geese Anser cygnoides and one Tundra Bean Goose Anser serrirostris in the foreground © Bernhard Seliger
Chinese Grey Shrike Lanius sphenocercus © Bernhard Seliger
Pallas’s Reed Bunting Emberiza pallasi © Bernhard Seliger
Male Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus © Bernhard Seliger
Male Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus huntings © Bernhard Seliger
Unfortunately, even in winter the work on concrete trenches does not stop – here, buntings, tits and finches will never find space to winter… © Bernhard Seliger

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