Bird News from Nial Moores
Counting from the wonderful January Pension produced a total of 1644 birds south in the first hour of light (between 0725 and 0825), with most numerous Temminck’s Cormorant (1086), Loons (326: almost all considered likely to be Arctics) and Ancient Murrelet (66). The same movement (regular southward each dawn and often northward in the evening) also included 15+ Spectacled Guillemot, one Rhinoceros Auklet and a Long-billed Murrelet, with the latter landing and feeding c. 200m from the Pension.
From the headland above Geojin Harbour, scans of the sea produced 300+ Arctic Loon, 1 or 2 Rhinoceros Auklet, four Spectacled Guillemot and a Third Calendar-year Glaucous-winged Gull, while on the headland itself best were a Korean Water Deer, a Long-tailed Rosefinch, and two Siberian Accentor (one heard, and one sadly found dead on the road back into town).
Siberian Accentor Prunella montanella. Photo Nial Moores/Birds Korea
January 15, Gangwon Coast
Bird News from Nial Moores with Shim Kyu-Sik and Kim Shin-Hwan, joined on the boat by Park Heung-Sig, Song In-Sik and Lee Yong-Sang
Few birds of note from land (best were about eight Spectacled Guillemot from shore by NM in the evening), but rather better success during 3.5 hours birding from a fishing boat. Taking the boat out from Daejin harbour, we headed a little further out than usual (out to 9.7km north-east of the harbour on a more or less straight line) in the hope of finding more obviously pelagic alcids including the still seldom-recorded Least Auklet. The first of the 357Ancient Murrelet counted were recorded 1.8km from shore (with most between 3km and 6km out), the first of three Spectacled Guillemot 2.5km out, the first of probably six Brunnich’s/Thick-billed Murre 3.2km out, and the first of five or six Common Guillemot more than 6km out. As predicted, Least Auklet were recorded a little further from shore still, with one at about 7.7km out, and another at 8.1km. Despite the pitch and roll of the boat in the 1m sea-swell, all of the photographers (i.e. everyone but NM!) took some excellent images, reproduced here with permission. It is a testimony to the skill of those involved that even details of the eye can be made out in many of the images of Least Auklet even though taken from a moving boat – please note that this is a species with a total length shorter than a Tree Sparrow! Other species of note during the day included a single Yellow-billed Loon, probably 200 Red-necked Grebe off Daejin Lighthouse area and nine Glaucous Gull in the harbour (NM only).
Common Murre Uria aalge.Photo Kim Shin-Hwan
January 14, Gangwon Coast
Bird News from Nial Moores with Shim Kyu-Sik and Kim Shin-Hwan
Cold overnight (-5C) rising to a balmy 6C by mid-afternoon. A series of short-stops along the coast between Wondeok and Yangyang revealed much construction and found a few good birds, with highlights the long-staying Long-tailed Duck in Gangneung (earlier photographed by Shim Kyu-Sik on January 8th), a concentration of 270 Rhinoceros Auklet and 500 Pacific Loon near Imwon Harbour, and 220 Ancient Murrelet in one short scan south of Yangyang.
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis. Photo Shim Kyu-Sik