West Jeju Island, December 2021

Some brief daily birdwatching and longer day trips on the west side of Jeju showed that winter has certainly begun, with a few surprises. The highlight so far has been an Oriental Stork along the south coast (originally reported by 강희만), with a tag labelled E68. This individual was reportedly tagged in Yesan in May earlier this year, and has made its way down to Jeju. It was comfortably standing around egrets, herons, and cormorants, occasionally grabbing the odd fish here and there.

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 황새 looking quite sharp in the Jeju scenery © Leslie Hurteau
Oriental Stork feeding on what looks like a flatfish. The quick movements from this large bird gave the surrounding egrets, herons, and cormorants a bit of a surprise. © Leslie Hurteau
Temminck’s Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus 가마우지 © Leslie Hurteau

Brief morning excursions at a local patch a bit further inland usually come up with the usual birds (bulbuls, tits, greenfinches, Japanese bush warblers, magpies, etc.), but one morning I found two Little Buntings mixed in with a group of Eurasian Sparrows, Meadow Buntings, and Japanese Bush Warblers. The Brown-eared Bulbuls seem to be congregating in large groups on the colder days, and the Large-billed Crows have come a bit further down from the nearby hills.

Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla 쇠붉은뺨멧새, two individuals seen in a local patch. © Leslie Hurteau
Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris 괭이갈매기, the most common gull species on Jeju and can be seen year round. © Leslie Hurteau
Taimyr Gull, or is it Heuglin’s?, (Larus heuglini taimyrensis 줄무늬노랑발갈매기) I didn’t see this species much on the mainland coastal areas but they seem somewhat common on Jeju in small numbers. © Leslie Hurteau

Along the coast, winter ducks and gulls have been filling in, including some Falcated Ducks. Common Snipe have been found in the reeds and fields. The gulls have really come in, with mostly Vega, Taimyr, and Black-tailed, and the odd Mongolian, Slaty-backed, and Common mixed in. Pelagic Cormorants were seen on a nice stroll along the north coast, as well at least four Pacific Reef Herons all along a short stretch of coast.

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus 물수리 searching for lunch © Leslie Hurteau
A rather zoomed in view of Pelagic Cormorants (Phalacrocorax pelagicus 쇠가마우지) resting with Temminck’s and possibly Great Cormorants © Leslie Hurteau
Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra 흑로 perched on the rocks, illuminated by the setting sun. © Leslie Hurteau

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