Hoemunsan, Jeolla buk do, August 14

Bird News from Mike Friel, Clare Morton, & Jason P. Loghry


Besides observing some very curious Daurian Redstart fledglings in my neighborhood park on a daily basis, or following the sea winds of the passing typhoon to two possible Sooty Terns streaming by Oryukdo; that is, streaming by too quickly out of view leaving me with the darndest feeling of what my Korean friends call ashipta (아쉽다), or besides getting a tip that a Lesser Frigatebird was at that exact moment outside the window I was staring, allowing me a slight glimpse, as a sudden rain shower comes storming in, leaving me without that “crippling view” I always dreamed of, besides that, it has been a quiet few weeks for me.

That was until I met up with fellow Birds Korean, Mike Friel, and visiting 10,000 Birds beat writer & Broome, Australia conservationist, Clare Morton. We peeled out of Jinju and headed up to Hoemunsan to check out an “Eco Recreational” area because we wanted to observe some Nuthatches that Mike had been telling us about.

Before we headed to the park, we dropped by a sultry and lush area of road and greenery that was full of butterflies, moths, and beaming sunshine. It was there that we could hear the Black-naped Orioles, that seemed to be doing more of the observing than us. Catching views of them in flight was just alright but after so much of the sun, we knew it was time to move on.

We made our next stop at a mountain stream, at which Clare seemed stoked to see the Brown Dipper she was hoping for. This Brown Dipper was great at disappearing, and then reappearing suddenly, literally right under our noses.

As we moved on to the park entrance, flurries of Eurasian Nuthatches were about in all their glory, scaling the trunks for what might have been hiding about the bark. It was also here that I did see a crown-striped warbler, pale supercillium, yellow vent! Wow, I was now even more stoked myself – a very handsome Eastern Crowned Warbler! which turned out to be in the plural. It left me wondering if they had been breeding in this area, or were they passing migrants?

With the afternoon came showers, on and off; as well as Blue and White Flycatchers; another species we were all delighted to see! Different sites throughout the walk brought different birds of this species- a female, male, and juvenile were all observed.

Pale Thrushes could be heard echoing amid the wet, dripping leaves. At one point after one of the heavier drops had fallen, the grey clouds seemed to part a bit. The forest became very much enchanted and a haze of the usual suspects screamed for our attention; Varied Tits, Coal tits, Eastern Great Tits, Yellow-throated Buntings, Blue and White Flycatchers, Japanese White Eyes, more Eurasian Nuthatches, and Pygmy Woodpeckers had all seemed to be drawn to a rock along the edge of the trail which had a mysterious crevice that was set upon its wall.

On the way home, a pit stop at a small rice field and reservoir allowed for views of a Common Kingfisher, a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, and a Striated Heron hanging out.

A lovely time was spent on this trip and I’m definitely looking forward to this group’s next venture out! To keep up with what Clare Morton, please check her out at 10,000 Birds. Also, if you’d like to know about what work she is doing in Broome, Australia, check out the Global Flyway Network!

Happy Birding!
All photos © Mike Friel.

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