Summary of a recent bird trip around South Korea – Part 3: South-east Coast

Bird Report by Martin Sutherland and Kim Sona

2nd and 4th to 6th January, 2012: South-east coast from Suncheon Bay to Nakdong estuary.

On 2nd January a day trip with family from Waegwan to Upo Wetland and Junam. Being a public holiday both sites were very busy, especially at Junam.

Upo Wetland was largely frozen with just gangs of common dabbling duck and pochard on the few areas of open water together with 110 Whooper Swans, 400 Bean and 100 White-fronted Geese. The best bird was a young White-tailed Eagle.

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla 1st Year, Upo Wetland, 2nd January 2012.

Bean Geese Anser fabalis, Upo Wetland 2nd January 2012.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Upo Wetland, 2nd January 2012.

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus male, Upo Wetland, 2nd January 2012.

After Upo Wetland on 2nd January we moved on to Junam until dusk. We visited Junam again on the way back from Busan on the evening of 6th January. Birds recorded here included 40 Eurasian Spoonbills, 250 Whooper Swans, 60 White-naped Cranes, 40 Falcated Duck, an adult White-tailed Eagle and two (male and female) Northern Goshawks.

Eurasian Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia, Junam, 2nd January 2012.

Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus, Junam, 2nd January 2012.

Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis (male), Junam, 2nd January 2012.

Suncheon Bay. We arrived here around midday on 4th January and stayed until the evening of the 5th. Hooded Cranes were in good numbers: we counted at least 500 birds. With them were four Common Cranes and a sprinkling of hybrids between the two species. Also present were at least 30 Cinereous Vultures. Other species included Osprey, Rough-legged Buzzard and Short-eared Owl, 300+ Saunder’s Gulls, another Hoopoe and two Common Starling with 75 Grey Starlings. Also, a Pale Thrush which was one of just two thrushes seen in the whole month’s visit!

Cinereous Vultures Aegypius monachus, Suncheon Bay, 4th January, 2012.

Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus, Suncheon Bay, 5th January, 2012.
Rough-legged Buzzard (probably 2nd Year), Suncheon Bay, 5th January, 2012.

Common Crane Grus grus (adult) with Hooded Cranes Grus monacha, Suncheon Bay, 5th January, 2012.

Hooded Cranes Grus monacha, Suncheon Bay, 4th January 2012.

Hooded x Common Crane hybrids (left and upper bird) with apparent pure Hooded Crane Grus monacha, Suncheon Bay, 5th January, 2012.

Saunder’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi (1st Winter), Suncheon Bay, 5th January 2012.

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris, Suncheon Bay, 5th January 2012.

On the 6th we met up with Nial Moores and Jason Loghry at Busan for several hours birding from the east bank of the Nakdong estuary looking in particular for eagles. This produced at least three immature Steller’s Sea Eagles and four or more White-tailed Eagles including at least two adults. Several Black Kites were present and at least two Western Ospreys while a personata Black-faced Bunting gave brief views in Dadaepo park.

Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus, Busan, 6th January 2012.

Black Kite Milvus migrans, Busan, 6th January 2012.

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