Bird news from Leslie Hurteau.
I took a short day trip to Mara Island over the Chuseok holidays, to enjoy a gorgeous sunny day and explore the southern most point of Korea. The ferry port had Blue Rock Thrush, Oriental Turtle Dove, Magpies, Brown-eared Bulbuls, and a Grey Heron flying by. The seas were calm, and not terribly birdy.
Shortly after arriving, three or so Richard’s Pipits were spotted, including a juvenile and one possible Blyth’s Pipit. Blue Rock Thrush were singing from the black volcanic rock, and were accompanied by a lone Grey-tailed Tattler sifting about in the tidal zone. Flycatchers were abundant throughout the island, primarily Asian Brown Flycatcher, but the odd Grey Streaked were seen as well.
A Common Kestrel was perched on a telecommunications pole before moving up the west coast; a Grey Heron was huddled on tidal zone; and a pair of Oriental Magpies and large group of Eurasian Tree Sparrows were loitering around the restaurants.
At the furthest southern point a pair of Blue Rock Thrush were seen, as well as the carcass of what looked to be some sort of Ardeidae species. Looping back around the island up the east side, a Zitting Cisticola was spotted briefly. Shortly after was the real prize of the island visit, a pair of Long-tailed Shrikes were seen together in a construction site. One was seen earlier, and now both individuals were interacting together chattering away. Certainly a pleasant sighting for a bird that is quite scarce in Korea.
Overhead two Pacific Swifts were spotted with a group of Barn Swallows that were circuiting the island skies, as well as a quick flyby of a Crested Honey Buzzard. A Brown Shrike was flushed when exploring the brush in the centre of the island. One cat was seen prowling the shrubs, quite unfortunate to see in an area that is no doubt an important stopover location for birds.
While waiting for the return ferry there was a quick flyby from a Eurasian Hoopoe, and a Pacific Reef Egret was spotted flying into a northeastern cove on the island. The ride back was peaceful.