Daily Archives: 03/05/2024

Spring Migration in Jeju City Parks, April 2024

Bird news and photos by Leslie Hurteau.

Spring migration usually starts somewhat early on Jeju Island, compared with the mainland. To catch up a bit, March had signs of bunting movement (Rustic and migrating Yellow-throated), large groups of Pale Thrush with some Grey-backed mixed in, Red-flanked Blutails, and Olive-backed Pipits. All of these are regular winter visitors on Jeju, but regardless some movement was noticeable comparing numbers to earlier months.

While March had some movement happening, April started with a big bang, especially within the first few days (April 1st to 5th). On April 1st, a Japanese Robin was found singing in Sarabong Park, and some brief views were possible. A few days later on April 5th, a Purple Heron was seen in the same park, an interesting juxtaposition with the Red-necked Grebe and Arctic Loons in the harbour around the corner (the former having stayed in the harbour for roughly a month, mid-March to mid-April). Intermediate Egrets began to make an appearance around this time, not only in Sarabong Park, but any wetland area around the island. Meanwhile, Grey Wagtails began to have bolder colours, and become more active in the dry rocky streams of the city.

Japanese Robin Larvivora akahige 붉은가슴울새
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena 큰논병아리
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea 붉은왜가리
Medium Egret (formerly Intermediate Egret) Ardea intermedia 중백로
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 노랑할미새

As the month began to move along, flycatchers and interesting thrushes began to show up in Shinsan and Sarabong Parks. Blue-and-white and Narcisus Flycatchers were the first to arrive, with the occasional Asian Brown Flycatcher. Japanese Thrushes came in as well, with some very nice looks at some individuals. Asian Stubtail could be heard singing from the undergrowth, joining the chorus of Warbling White-eyes, Japanese Bush Warblers, and Pale Thrush. Leaf warblers had begun to show up as well, with Eastern Crowned and Yellow-browed Warblers being the first arrivals, and then Pale-legged and Sakhalin Leaf Warblers filling up the parks by mid-April.

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana 큰유리새
Grey Thrush Turdus cardis 검은지빠귀
Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina 황금새
Asian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps 숲새
Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum 되지빠귀

Along coast in the city is a breakwater by Tapdong, which is a fantastic spot for gulls in winter. As April progressed, there was a very noticeable drop in gulls here. Mainly a few Taimyr and Black-tailed Gulls remained, and the occasional Mongolian Gull. Temminck’s Cormorants were still around, but in much lower numbers than winter months, and nearly all of the Pelagic Cormorants were gone by mid-month. One particular noteworthy sighting on a casual visit was three Gull-billed Terns drifting along the breakwater. This particular day had strong southerly winds and stormy weather, followed by westerly winds. It seems likely the terns were brought in closer to the coast by this weather.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica 큰부리제비갈매기

As the month progressed, so did bird activity. Japanese Thrushes were gradually moving on, replaced by Brown-headed and Eyebrowed Thrushes. Yellow-rumped Flycatchers and Mugimakis began making their first appearances, and even a Siberian Thrush was spotted on one particularly wet morning in Shinsan Park in the end of April.

Alongside these interesting migrants and summer visitors, were the local species, busy preparing for their nests. Eastern Tits could be seen collecting nesting material, freshly hatched Oriental Magpies could be heard squawking from their nests, and White-backed Woodpeckers were busy foraging for insects.

Eastern Tit Parus minor 박새
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 쇠백로
Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica davisoni 흰눈썹지빠귀
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia 흰눈썹황금새
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchius
White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos quelpartensis 제주큰오색딱다구리