Eco class: A walk outside

Almost every Saturday morning I have the privilege of meeting with and sharing my time with an extraordinary group of middle school students. Together, we study and discover so much about birds, wetlands, conservation science, ecology, and environmental issues.


Yesterday, despite the somewhat extreme heat, we decided to take a walk together at Igidae in Busan. Our mission for the walk was to not only observe the park’s wildlife, but also observe disturbances “in the wild.” I asked the boys to imagine we were ghosts, acting as quietly as we could.

With notepads ready and binoculars in hand, we walked for about two hours. Even in the sultriness of this early afternoon, the woods were alive and moving.

We heard and saw a few of this season’s usual suspects, such as Black-naped Orioles, Long-tailed Tits, and Vinous-throated Parrotbills. There were also plenty of very interesting day flying insects such as butterflies and wasps out and about.


Korean Giant Hornet Vespa mandarinia

Disturbances noticed were of course the unfortunate but usual passerby with a radio attached to arm; volume up, an occasional group of boisterous hikers talking nature; volume up, and a lone clapper, praising the silence of the forest with a series of echoing claps. We also noticed some hidden litter on the trail.




Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris

Still, we were not discouraged. There was a lot to see and learn.



Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos kizuki

We quietly circled our way around one portion of the park. Seeing the boys observe and explore with such enthusiasm and care, I couldn’t help but feel proud. I had so much fun with them and I can’t wait to do it again, but perhaps when it cools off a bit.

Birds Korea Eco Youth Team 2011: Han K-H, Park J-H, Lee J-H, & Lee S-H.

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