Daily Archives: 30/05/2023

Paju, Book City Wetland, Rice fields and Jangneung Royal Tomb, 29.05.2023

Dr. Bernhard Seliger (Hanns Seidel Foundation, Birds Korea)

A pleasant make-up holiday spent in Paju. Unfortunately, the rapid destruction of the pleasant rice-field area below Odusan progresses, with construction machines everywhere building a huge new dyke, presumably for a road (in between two huge other roads around a kilometer to the left and right)…Though it is difficult to say from one visit at a time how this impacts bird populations, there certainly seems to be fewer and fewer “special” birds, maybe with the exception of Black-faced Spoonbills. It is difficult to see birds like Watercock breeding in such disturbed habitat. And, given that all trees formerly bordering the dirt tracks were cut down to make space for large construction machines, also the ability to serve as a migratory route for passerines, not to speak of serving as a breeding place for stonechats and others, seems to be severely impacted. Once the construction is finished, who would care to save what still can be saved of this place once famous for bird watching – the Gongneungcheong area – for example, by a vigorous tree planting effort (and not pine trees, but bushes and trees valuable for birds…)?

Interesting was a group of five Mallard flying around in the rice fields – I never encountered that before at this time of year.

Jangneung Royal Tomb, on the contrary, with old trees and teeming with woodpeckers, flycatchers, tits, a Eurasian Hoopoe and other birds, was extremely lovely and is recommendable, including the small, secluded rice-field area near it.

Pic 1: Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 2: Eastern Cattle Egret Bulbulcus coromandus  (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 3: A huge new road-building project cuts the remaining rice field area into half…all trees and bushes formerly bordering the dyke were cut to make place for heavy machinery (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 4: Surprise – Mallards Anas platyrhynchos in the rice fields in late May. (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 4a: A closer look at the mallards Anas platyrhynchos (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 5: Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis (© Bernhard Seliger)

Pic 6: A very untidy-looking young Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major trying out his first independent climbing (© Bernhard Seliger)