Bird news from Leslie Hurteau
A day trip to Mara Island on May 6th was met with beautiful sunshine and a nice selection of spring migrants. Shortly after departing from Songaksan port, a group of six Crested Murrelets were seen, as well as two more flying by. Only the northern side of the island was covered for the trip, with plenty of time spent in the small forest in the centre.
The find of the day was an Ashy Drongo, which perched on a branch on the edge of the forest long enough to get good looks and some photos. It was quite a treat to get good views of it, as they’re a rare vagrant in the Republic of Korea.
Asian Brown, Blue-and-white, Mugimaki, and Narcissus Flycatchers were present in the forested area, with a couple species found on the northern shore. A small group of Little Buntings were found on the fields, as well as Olive-backed Pipits and one Siberian Rubythroat. Cattle Egrets were seen migrating north over the sea, and a single Chinese Pond Heron circled the island looking for a spot to land.
Along with flycatchers, the forested area also had a Brown-headed Thrush, a singing Indian Cuckoo, Leaf Warblers (Arctic, Eastern Crowned, Yellow-browed), as well as buntings (Tristrams, Yellow-browed, and Chestnut-cheeked). On the forest edge a group of Chestnut-cheeked Starlings with one White-cheeked mixed in. Within the forest was one of the more interesting finds of the trip, an unusually late Goldcrest, seen and heard quite well.
Swallows (Barn and Red-rumped) and Pacific Swifts swooped around in the skies. They were very active, sometimes nearly touching the ground, and allowed for some great views of the three species.
The ferry ride back was rather uneventful birdwise, but some plovers (Lesser Sand, Little Ringed, Kentish, and Long-billed) were feeding along Sagye Beach, as well as a Pacific Reef Egret, a Jeju Island classic. In a nearby wetland, Intermediate and Great Egrets and Black-winged Stilts were foraging while the songs of Oriental Reed Warblers and Warbling White-eyes drifted through the late afternoon sky.
The full checklist for the day on eBird: May 6th checklist