Bird News by Jason Loghry, Ha Jung-Mun, Nial Moores, Shim Kyu-Sik, Song In-Sik, Lee Yong-Sang, Maria Lisak, and Patrick Blake
On Saturday morning, a group of Birds Koreans met to look at seabirds off Heuksan Island. It was relatively cool (24°C) with periods of rain, occasionally heavy (>50mm), and an increasing sea-swell (with swell height increasing from c. 1m to 3m at peak). Highlights of the day from the boat included 20-30 Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, with some seen very close including one carrying a fish. We also had prolonged looks at Streaked Shearwater, brief views of small numbers of Red-necked Phalarope, about 9 Common Tern, and a distant view of one or two Flesh-footed Shearwater. We finished the day on land, birding close to the main town. There were good numbers of wagtails overhead, including a single flock of 160 Eastern Yellow Wagtail. The sky swarmed with feeding dragonflies and a flock of Pacific Swift (50+), joined by 3+White-throated Needletail and a Himalayan Swiftlet (a species which is scarcely recorded annually in the ROK).
On Sunday morning, there was no sign of the swift flock, but there still several groups of Eastern Yellow Wagtail, both overhead and feeding. While most appeared to be nominate Eastern Yellows, one bird stood out. In the field its green and yellow head pattern (lacking the darker-than-crown ear-coverts of taivana) most closely resembled a flavissima or more likely a lutea Western Yellow Wagtail. A series of images were taken, and a couple of calls recorded. More will be posted on this wagtail at a later date.
Another species of interest was Light-vented Bulbul, with 25+ noted (including many juveniles). This species was only first recorded in the ROK a decade ago, but is becoming increasingly numerous as a breeder on some offshore islands. We also enjoyed good views of an ‘early’ Eurasian Wryneck and a pair of Daurian Starling. Other landbird highlights include a worn adult Black Woodpigeon, Oriental Dollarbird, Blue Rock Thrush, several juvenile Pale Thrush, a male Grey Thrush (HJM only), Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, single Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, 2+ Tiger Shrike, and a Brown Shrike (HJM only).
Shorebirds were well-represented too and included Pacific Golden Plover (5), Long-toed Stint (2), Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Pin-tailed Snipe (perhaps 5+), Sanderling (9), Red-necked Stint, and Black-winged Stilt (4).
Special thanks to those who helped organize this trip, to all who joined, and especially to Dr. Nial Moores for his guiding. Hoping to have more trips like this with our members in the near future!