Bird news by Subhojit Chakladar
Every time a typhoon hits the Korean peninsula, I’m tempted to go on a pelagic immediately afterwards in search of exotic seabirds. This trip to Weiyon-do was primarily for searching seabirds from the ferry. The ferry rides were unfortunately rather disappointing in terms of birds. The only birds of note were 2 Streaked Shearwaters. Though too far to be effectively photographed, I was able to observe them for quite a long time. The first day on the island was also quite disappointing. The best part of the stay was Sunday morning. It started with a Great Spotted Woodpecker, followed in quick succession by a Siberian Stonechat, Olive-Backed (1) and Pechora Pipits (2). But then I encountered a deceased juvenile Common Moorhen. It seemed to have perished from an injury to the back of its head (probably inflicted by a raptor). The western side of the “Temple hill” held more surprises. Yellow-Browed Buntings (~6), Siberian Stonechats (~3), Asian Brown and Grey Streaked Flycatchers (2 each). There was also a juvenile cuckoo. The picture is shown below and any help at identification would be deeply appreciated. But of the 31 species spotted on the island, the obvious highlight was a juvenile Oriental Scops Owl (Rufous form) (thanks to Dr Moores, Tim and Jason for helping with the ID). It was spotted at the edge of the forest on the western face of the hill. Other species of note on the island were a Yellow-breasted Bunting and a Western Osprey. During the trip about 120+ Yellow-Browed Warblers and about 10+ Arctic Warblers were encountered.
Apart from the birds, the relatively unspoilt night sky and glowing waves in the sea (bio-luminescence) provided some much needed break from the hectic pace of city life.