Dr Nial Moores, Birds Korea / 새와 생명의 터, June 19th 2022
Thanks to an invitation from Dr Kim Su-Kyung, Senior Researcher at the Eco institute for Oriental Stork and a co-founder of Birds Korea / 새와 생명의 터, I was able to spend a highly enjoyable half-day in Hongseong County (Chungcheongnam Province) on June 18th, leading a seminar on bird monitoring for a wonderful local group.
The seminar was divided into two parts: a powerpoint presentation, sharing some lessons from Birds Korea’s survey work and monitoring programs (paramount of which includes the need to work out how the data / information will be used, with a strong emphasis on considering local, national and international dimensions simultaneously), and some bird identification tips: structure, then contrast, then plumage and colour. This was followed by an hour and half looking at some birds and their habitats, focused on rice-fields and a nearby small, drought-impacted reservoir.
Even in such a short time we were able to watch two pairs of Great Crested Grebe at the nest (a species with perhaps only 100 or so breeding pairs nationwide?) and a small post-breeding flock of Mandarin Duck; and to see the difference between some fields with cleared banks and others with egrets feeding voraciously on rice-field fish.
Clearly this area is of local importance; and likely of national importance too. And just as clearly, improved conservation of biodiversity in the ROK’s rice-fields and agricultural landscapes is essential both for the nation and for global conservation efforts. How else will species like the ROK-endemic hightly-threatened Yellow-bellied Tree Frog or the migratory White-naped Crane, Hooded Crane and Baikal Teal survive? How else can recovering populations of grey geese in East Asia be maintained? How else can the globally Endangered Oriental Stork continue to reoccupy fragments of a once huge range?
My thanks again to everybody for making the visit and seminar so enjoyable!