Bird News from Nial Moores with Mike Danzenbaker, Lee Hung and Angus Wilson
Several excellent highlights despite the rapidly deteriorating weather, including five Relict Gull, two Chinese Nuthatch, four Oriental Stork, two Long-billed Dowitcher, a presumed First-winter female Black-throated Thrush, c. 20 Scaly-sided Merganser and Amur Leopard Cat at two sites.
On the 7th, highlights in mild and largely sunny conditions at Yangyang and Gangneung included multiple encounters with Pallas’s Reed Bunting (40+ seen, including several brown and rather fewer grey and white individuals), single Long-billed Plover, Saunders’s Gull and Eurasian Hoopoe, and perhaps best of all single River Otter and Amur Leopard Cat.
Pallas’s Reed Bunting Emberiza pallasi © Nial Moores
Amur Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis euptilurus © Nial Moores
On the 8th, ahead of a vigorous cold front, a good assemblage of birds at Song Do, Incheon, included five Relict Gull (Four First-winters and a single adult), 440 Saunders’s Gull and 740 Eurasian Curlew, while nearby parkland held two Chinese Nuthatch (thanks to gen via Spike Millington from Eugene Cheah) and four Yellow-bellied Tit, along with good numbers of thrushes.
Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus (with Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi) © Nial Moores
Chinese Nuthatch Sitta villosa © Nial Moores
In the afternoon of the 8th, a few hours in increasingly heavy overcast at Seosan suggested the area was largely birdless though we did find an adult Steller’s Sea Eagle, a Chinese Grey Shrike and an Amur Leopard Cat.
Steller’s Sea Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus © Nial Moores
Chinese Grey Shrike Lanius sphenocercus © Mike Danzenbaker
On the 9th, occasionally heavy snow perhaps helped drive the Baikal Teal flock away from Gunsan (reportedly a flock 50,000 strong was here on the 6th) where most unusual was a flock of c. 10 Yellow-bellied Tit; while highlights further south at Gomso Bay included four Oriental Stork (three of which were “bare-legged”) and rarest of all in the Korean context two Long-billed Dowitcher (perhaps the first multiple occurrence nationally, and perhaps only about the third or fourth mid-winter record). One of the birds was carrying “ordinary-shaped” leg-flags, blue over white on the left tarsus, suggesting the bird had been banded at Obitsu in Japan.
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana © Nial Moores
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus © Nial Moores (top two images) and Mike Danzenbaker (in flight)
On the 10th, in bitterly cold conditions (with a morning low of -10C, climbing to a high of -3C), a day at the North River resulted in great views of several of c. 20 Scaly-sided Merganser (with much better images to come later than those posted below) and the discovery of a mixed flock of c. 100 Naumann’s and Dusky Thrushes, including one presumed First-winter female Black-throated Thrush.
Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus: Adult male and female (top three images), and below, First-winter male (note the replaced blackish scapulars) © Nial Moores
Naumann’s Thrush Turdus naumanni © Nial Moores