Highlights from 6 days on Gageo, April 16 – 22

Bird News from Robin Newlin and (for a while) Subhojit Chakladar

Tuesday 22nd: Tuesday before the boat added a Common Sandpiper. Fewer Yellow Bunting — 2 seen. A Chinese Pond Heron in the main village looked like a different individual. From the boat: about 40 Murrelets (all looked like Ancients, but most were on the poor light side and distant) and 2 Streaked Shearwaters.

Monday 21st: Monday added a Snipe, apparently a Swinhoe’s, and a Grey-tailed Tattler in the quarry. Blue and White Flycatchers were more apparent, probably due to sunny conditions (several were bathing) rather than increasing numbers. A singing Grey-backed Thrush below Little Hokkaido. At least by observation/hearing, Brown-headed Thrush continued to be the most common thrush on the island, with c. 40 noted during my stay. Several Black-crowned Night Herons in the concreted (and fishless) stream seemed to have recently arrived.

Blue-and-white-Flycatcher_RNBlue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana, © Robin Newlin

Black-crowned-Night-Heron_RNBlack-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, © Robin Newlin

Sunday 20th: On Sunday morning I spent some considerable time with the White-shouldered Starling. A Great Tit and a Siberian Weasel or jeokjaebi worked the same area—the latter, a non-native (probably arrived as stowaways on ships) apparently responsible for the eradication of Gageo’s snake population. A Eurasian Sparrowhawk drifted overhead. After Mr. Chakladar’s  departure I made the trek to 2-gu: highlights were a calling Oriental Scops Owl, several cooing and finally 2 seen Black Wood Pigeons, chasing one another with their astonishing speed, several singing Eastern Crowned Warblers, a few calling White’s Thrushes, a distant flying group of apparent waxwings (species undetermined: 7 or 8 birds), an incongruously single Ashy Minivet above a ravine stream near Halfway Tree, several more Bramblings, and a pair of Varied Tits (one carrying green nesting material). 2-gu was very quiet, with a few Brown Thrushes, a fly-by Oriental Pratincole over the ocean and another single Ashy Minivet. Back to the quarry by the end of the day, I came across 1 of S. C.’s 2 Little Whimbrels.


Siberian-Weasel_RNSiberian Weasel Mustela sibirica coreana, © Robin Newlin

Little-Whimbrel_RNLittle Whimbrel Numenius minutus, © Robin Newlin

Saturday 19th: Saturday began clear with a period of rain, then clear but somewhat cool. In the quarry, a Little Ringed Plover. ATemminck’s Stint crept around near the road to the trash tip. On the mossy slab, 3 Wood Sandpipers, a Kentish Plover and a Mongolian Plover. On the water, an Arctic Loon. Saturday mid-day marked the arrival of Subhojit Chakladar, who found (separately — see his report for details) some good birds including 2 Little Whimbrels and a female Citrine Wagtail.


Temmincks-Stint_RNTemminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii, © Robin Newlin

Wood-Sandpiper_RNWood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, © Robin Newlin

Mongolian-Plover_RNMongolian Plover Charadrius mongolus, © Robin Newlin

Friday 18th: Rain still, with light fog. Following are mostly new birds: 1 Cattle Egret. 1 Red-billed Starling. 1 Greater Short-toed Lark. A different Chestnut-eared Bunting. An unidentified Snipe. A single Chinese Pond Heron. A Whimbrel. AYellow-breasted Bunting. Above the village, 4 Chestnut-cheeked, 7 Grey, 2 Red-billed, 2 Daurian and 1 White-shouldered Starling. At one point I could see 5 species of starling on the same telephone wire. Also: 3 Tristram’s Bunting, 2 Yellow-browed Bunting, and several more Brown-headed Thrushes and 2 more Grey Thrushes. In the harbor, 3 Great-crested Grebes.


White-shouldered-Starling_RNWhite-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis, © Robin NewlinThursday 17th: Thursday brought rain and fog. The afternoon (still raining) showed a clear but modest influx of migrants: perhaps a dozen new Red-throated Pipits, 20 new Olive-backed, an apparent (distant flight view) Richard’s Pipit, and several Bramblings. 2 Siberian Rubythroats allowed glimpses. A cracking male Black Redstart showed on the rocks beyond the trash tip; it may have been there the day before and remained elusive for the next few days. In the quarry: a Wryneck and a Grey Thrush. Some increase in Narcissus and Asian Brown Flycatchers. A very bedraggled but apparently alert Great Knot near the harbor.


Narcissus-Flycatcher_RNNarcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina, © Robin NewlinWednesday 16th: From the boat, about 40 Murrelets, some quite close. Most were (and as to be expected) Ancient; 3 looked to be Crested. Off the boat, a calling Yellow-browed Warbler, about 20 Olive-backed Pipits, a Japanese Quail, several Brown-headed Thrushes, calling Korean Bush Warblers, a single Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, a single Eastern Crowned Warbler, a calling Eurasian Hoopoe, 6 Narcissus Flycatchers, 1 Blue and White Flycatcher, 1Chestnut-eared Bunting, 5 Black-faced Buntings, 6 Yellow Buntings, 7 Little Buntings, 8 Asian Brown Flycatchers, 4 Yellow-throated Buntings, a calling Siberian Rubythroat, 2 Pale Thrushes, 8 Japanese White-eyes, 3 Blue Rock Thrushes, several Great and Little Egrets, 6 Buff-bellied Pipits, 5 Red-throated Pipits, 3 Eastern Yellow,1 Grey and 2 White Wagtails, 2 Red-flanked Bluetails, a single Common Kingfisher, about 30 Barn Swallows, 2 Red-rumped Swallows, a Siberian Blue Robin, several Asian Stubtails, several Stejneger’s Stonechats, about a dozen Eurasian Siskins and a single Black-browed Reed Warbler. In the trees behind the main street: an unseen singing Chinese Grosbeak. Above the quarry: a Peregrine Falcon.


Siberian-Blue-Robin_RNSiberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyane, © Robin Newlin

Eurasian-Siskin_RN-maleMale Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, © Robin Newlin

Eurasian-Siskin_RN-femaleFemale Eurasian Siskin Spinus spinus, © Robin Newlin

Asian-Stubtail_RNAsian Stubtail Urosphena squameiceps, © Robin Newlin

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