North East Gangwon Province & river, lagoon and modified land, February 23

Birds News from Barry Heinrich

I went to Namdae Cheon near Yangyang on Sunday 20 February with Choi Jeong-Hwa to do a bird survey.  There was still quite a bit of snow around, but a week of warm weather had left some open ground and there was open water along most of the river.
We found Pallas’s Reed Buntings, Yellow-throated Buntings, Long-tailed Rosefinches, Far Eastern Larks and a Dusky Thrush to the south of the river close to the coast.  There was a Peregrine Falcon on the sandbar between the sea and the river.  Common Goldeneyes, Eastern Spot-billed Ducks, Mallards, a Garganey, Eurasian Coots and Common Mergansers in the river near Naksandae Bridge.  Crossing the bridge we had a closer look at the gulls that had just come in from the sea.  They were Slaty-backed Gulls, Vega Gulls and a Glaucous Gull.
After crossing the bridge we found some Tree Sparrows, Siskins and a Common Redpoll in the small pine trees next to the bridge.  They were foraging on the side of the embankment where the snow had thawed enough to expose the ground.
Further upstream we saw more Dusky Thrushes along the side of the road.  After slogging through the snow I counted about 500 Mallards just dowstream from the Salmon hatchery.  We also saw a White-tailed Eagle next to the river there.  Back on the road I spotted a Common Buzzard in a tree.  I followed it with my binoculars when it flew and it stole what I think was a Dusky Thrush from a Eurasian Sparrowhawk.  It’s the second time this year I’ve seen a buzzard taking prey from another raptor, the first time was from a Peregrine Falcon North of Ganseong.  There was a Black-backed Wagtail in the drain near the road as we got cloer to Yangyang.
After lunch in Sokcho we had a look at the birds at Cheongcho Lagoon.  I counted about 1800 gulls, mostly Common Gulls, but also some Black-headed Gulls, Slaty-backed Gulls, Vega Gulls and Black-tailed Gulls.  There were Great Cormorants, Great Crested Grebes, Mallards, Spot-billed Ducks, Eurasian Teals, Tufted Ducks, Greater Scaups. Common Mergansers, Smew, Eurasian Coots and a male Red-breated Merganser in the lagoon as well.
Back at school I have been seeing lots of Brown-eared Bulbuls outside my classroom.  Thay have been feeding on the fruit of the trees outside, both from the trees and on fallen fruit.  The trees are called “San-su-yu” in Korean, Cornus officianalis. I took photos of some of them Tuesday morning, with 24 birds in one photo.  Other birds that came on Tuesday morning were Naumann’s Thrush and a Hawfinch.  When I got to my classroom Wednesday morning I had a look and saw a bird I hadn’t seen before.  I quickly went home and got my camera gear and got photos of a Bohemian Waxwing.  I saw one of the Brown-eared Bulbuls eating green leaves from a small succulent plant as well.
Overall, I would say there has still been some good birding to be had in spite of the snow.

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Naumann’s Thrush Turdus naumanni. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Common Redpoll Anthea flammea. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Pallas’s Reed Bunting Emberiza pallasi,. Photo © Barry Heinrich


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