Jeju, March 22-23

Mara-do, Jeju, March 22

Bird News from Matt Poll

Largely the same feeling today on Mara when compared with last Saturday. The Oriental Plovers were missed, and a few new birds were noted, like Black-crowned Night Heron, Hoopoe, Eurasian Wren, Chinese Grosbeak and Eurasian Siskin. Distressingly, a large orange cat was seen prowling in the woods, the first time I’ve observed this. One can only imagine how many exhausted migrants this cat will kill in the coming weeks and months.
1. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
2. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax; three seen circling before settling in the tallest trees on the island
3. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
4. Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris
5. Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus
6. Hoopoe Upupa epops
7. Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
8. Great Tit Parus major
9. Far Eastern Skylark Alauda japonica
10. Barn Swallow Hirundo Rustica
11. Japanese Bush Warbler Horornis diphone
12. Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus
13. Eurasian Wren Troglodytes troglodytes; one briefly seen at the edge of the woods
14. Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus
15. Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
16. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
17. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus; 30+ in the village
18. White Wagtail Motacilla alba
19. Chinese Grosbeak Eophona migratoria; a flock of 12+ was restlessly roaming the island
20. Grey-capped Greenfinch Chloris sinica
21. Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus; one heard
22. Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides; one individual with mostly black (as opposed to brown) head pattern – darkest I’ve seen on Jeju…
23. Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans; 20+ in the woods

meadow mara2

Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides. Photo © Matt Poll.

Jeju north coast, March 23

Bird News from Matt Poll with Mike Balfour

Sunday saw calm and warm weather after a windy and smoggy week on Jeju. Definite signs of spring movement noted, with some birds seemingly early. We saw a total of 61 species today, at parks in Jeju City, at Hado, and Seongsan. In Jeju City, a crisp Grey-backed Thrush was a real treat to watch as it perched in a tree. Three Chinese Grosbeaks and plentiful Pale Thrush were also noted in this park.
Near Seongsan, we stopped to look at gulls, and were surprised to see a Saunders’s Gull in summer plumage gracefully wheeling low to the water (a personal Jeju first). Very high overhead, three Cinereous Vultures circled on a thermal – probably Jeju’s strangely resident vultures.
At Hado, we were glad to see seemingly healthy numbers and diversity of waterfowl, in spite of disruptive spraying and other showy/dubious AI countermeasures. The Black-faced Spoonbills that regularly overwinter at Hado, however, have stayed away, and some can be found near Seongsan at a far less ideal site located next to a new walking trail. A new viewing platform has been built much closer to the reservoir at Hado, and worryingly, a picnic gazebo – right at the water’s edge.
Also at Hado, two more relatively dark-faced Meadow Buntings were seen. I’ve seen plenty of Meadow Buntings on Jeju over the years, but never with such dark facial markings. They also seemed to make a more ‘tingy’ insect-like call than I’m used to. How closely related to Japanese ciopsis Meadow Buntings are Jeju’s Meadow Buntings? Read Dr. Nial Moores’ excellent ID notes here:

a hado weblarge

New structures at Hado. Photo © Matt Poll.


Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi. Photo © Matt Poll.

gb thrush2

Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum. Photo © Matt Poll.

meadow hado2

Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides. Photo © Matt Poll.


Common Redshank Tringa totanus. Photo © Matt Poll.

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