Bird News from Subhojit Chakladar
A quick dash to Socheong on the weekend to resume birding after almost a month. Very windy (rough seas) meant no chance of observing from the ferry. On the island, the first day was rather sedate but an overcast night revealed many new birds in the morning. A total of 41 species in 24hrs covering only about half the island from the main village to the lighthouse gully.
Highlights from day 1 include a couple of Eurasian Wrynecks, a Latham’s Snipe and a skulking Radde’s Warbler at the lighthouse gully. A very tired White’s Thrush near the fish farm, which was too exhausted to fly and hopped around trying to find food just meters from me, as a I sat watching it. A Red-Billed Starling on the road returning to the main village. The dominant bird of the day were Red-flanked Bluetails (200+).
Morning of the 2nd day was overcast and extremely windy. It was a real struggle to stand on the ridge at the North Point. New birds in the first hour of sunlight were Little Buntings. Winter migrants still linger in form of a Siberian Accentor and a Hawfinch. This day belonged to the thrushes. At least 100+ Dusky Thrushes, 20+ White’s Thrushes and close to 30 Grey-backed Thrushes (particularly) at the second village. Flocks of Bramblings (many of them in full breeding plumage) were present in the fields close to the main village. The most common of the warblers were Pallas’s Leaf Warbler (many of which provided excellent photo opportunities inspite of their notorious agility). Less cooperating were a couple of Korean Bush Warblers and an Eastern Crowned Warbler. Best of all was an Asian Stubtail that foraged literally inches from my lens, as I sat near a dry stream-bed at the 2nd village. When the bird first appeared (in perfect light conditions), my heart skipped a beat! It kept hopping around me, sparing me an occasional glance and for a while staring into the lens (or maybe its own reflection!)