Songdo August 17 – 18

Bird News from Tim Edelsten

The heatwave continues into a third month of temperatures above 30 degrees and 80% humidity. At Songdo, where further chunks of habitat dissapear under construction with each new visit, dwindling birdlife is crowded into ever more enclosed and degraded corners of habitat. Another massive section of intertidal zone has been concreted over, but it appears developers have finally halted the destruction just short of Sorae -at Gojan- where about 6% of the former mudflat area is now suddenly declared as “protected” on enviro-friendly signboards.

I checked out Aham-do and the nearby golf course on the 17th, and Gojan and the lagoon on the 18th. Striking was the paltry number of juveniles compared to previous years. Species observed were:

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus. One on the old golf course.

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. Fourteen on the lagoon.

Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha. Numerous.

Garganey Anas querquedula. One eclipse on the lagoon. Featuring e.g. white spot at base of bill.

Eurasian Teal Anas crecca. One on the lagoon is about two weeks earlier than usual.

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis. Six on the lagoon, including 2 juveniles.

Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. Nineteen at Aham-do, 26 at Gojan, and 14 on the lagoon (which included at least five juveniles).

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea.

Great Egret Ardea alba.

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia. One on the lagoon.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta.

Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes. One at Aham-do, two on the lagoon (occasionally they venture onto coastal freshwater), and one at Gojan.

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo. Someone has cut down their roosting trees.

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo. One eating dragonflies at Aham-do.

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo, © Tim Edelsten

Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo. Two juveniles, one at Gojan and another on the lagoon, tested their rather inept hunting skills and roused flocks of shorebirds in the process, which eluded harassment by gradually flying higher than the falcons, dropping back to earth only once danger had passed.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus. One on the lagoon.

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra. One on the lagoon.

Far Eastern Oystercatcher Haematopus (ostralegus) osculans. Three at Gojan.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus. A flock of 29 (including 4 young of the year) on the lagoon is apparently the second-highest concentration so far recorded in Korea. The juveniles are undoubtedly locally raised, from two nests noted here in June.

Flock of Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, © Tim Edelsten

Adult male Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, © Tim Edelsten

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola. 50+ at Aham-do, 315 at Gojan.

Mongolian Plover Charadrius m. mongolus. Eighteen at Gojan, mostly still in red-breasted breeding colouration.

Pin-tailed Snipe Gallinago stenura. One in ditch at Songdo Golf course. ID based on smallish size, brief glimpse of underwing, silent flushing and mid-flight squeak.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa. Two on the mud at Gojan, 170 on the lagoon.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica. One at Aham-do, 520 at Gojan.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus. Fifteen at Aham-do, 10 at Gojan.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata. Some 60+ at Gojan.

Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis. Two at Aham-do, 210 at Gojan.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus. One at Gojan. A scarce sight on mudflat.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus. Six on the mudflat at Aham-do and two at Gojan.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis. Two on the lagoon.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia. c.150 at Aham-do, another 450 at Gojan and c.40 on the lagoon.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola. 20+ on the lagoon.

Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes. Two at Aham-do.

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus. 20+ at Aham-do, at least 350 at Gojan.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. Twelve or so on the lagoon.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres. Nine at Gojan.

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris. Twelve at Gojan.

Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta. One on the lagoon.

Dunlin Calidris alpina. Only two noticed at Gojan.

Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi. Twenty-six at Gojan included only one juvenile.

Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris.

Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus. Two at Aham-do and 12 between the lagoon and Gojan, including one juvenile.

Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis.

Eurasian Magpie Pica pica.

Eastern Great Tit Parus minor.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus.

On Aham-do where among the butterflies, many Asian Comma.

Asian Comma Polygonia-c-aureum, © Tim Edelsten

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