Selected Birding highlights from Nial Moores
Over 100 species recorded between October 21st and 26th, with 86 species recorded on October 24th (when both 1-Gu and 2-Gu were surveyed). In addition to high numbers of winter finches (e.g. 1,100 Eurasian Siskin and 90 Hawfinch on 24th and 650 Brambling and a Redpoll sp heard on 26th) selected highlights include:
Eurasian Coot: One on 25th and 26th. First island record?
Black Stork: One briefly on 22nd (also seen on 21st by a visiting film-crew). Apparently one was taken into care earlier this month (via Go Gyoung-nam).
White-tailed Eagle: An adult was in the harbour on 25th and 26th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: Present daily with 2-4 in 1-Gu, and 12 counted in 1-Gu and 2-Gu on 24th. This species is not listed for Shinan County by Lee Gyung-Kyu and appears to be undergoing a decent-sized irruption this autumn. Subspecies appears to be japonicus, which breeds on the Korea Peninsula and adjacent regions.
Long-tailed Shrike: At least two and possibly three present in 1-Gu, and at least six counted on October 24th in 1-Gu and 2-Gu.
Yellow-bellied Tit: First noted on the 24th (a single), increasing to 25+ on 26th. This species was apparently previously unrecorded on Gageo.
Eastern Great Tit: Present in higher-than-average numbers, with 375 recorded on 24th when both 1-Gu and 2-Gu were surveyed. This total includes several small flocks seen heading out west to sea. The species is undergoing a fairly major irruption, as the maximum count of the species on the island during near-monthly survey in 2009/2010 was 20.
Eurasian Crag Martin: A probable was seen briefly in heavy rain on 22nd, mixed in with a flock of 180 Asian House Martin.
Long-tailed Tit: Five (subspecies magnus) were in 1-Gu on 24th. This is perhaps the first record for Gageo.
White Wagtail: One of subspecies alboides (previously unrecorded in the ROK) or personata (perhaps two previous ROK records) was in a mixed group of wagtails at the 1-Gu rubbish dump on 22nd and 23rd. Prof. Per Alstrom has been contacted, and will likely help to confirm subspecific identification shortly…
Black-headed Bunting: A very washed out First Calendar Year was found in 1-Gu on 22nd, and was glimpsed there again on 23rd. The same, or rather more likely a different (rather better coloured) individual was then found in 2-Gu on 24th. There are still probably fewer than 20 national records of this species, with most from Eocheong during northward migration.
Identification from Red-headed was based on its large-looking, conical bill; the warmth in some of the upperpart tones (including on the scapulars and rump); the heaviness of the crown streaking; the presence of several darker streaks in the ear coverts; and the pale throat contrasting with otherwise yellow-washed underparts. Informed comments from those with much experience of these difficult taxa would still be most welcome, however!