Birdathon News from Subhojit Chakladar

Gageo-do, May 1-3

Even though I have birded for a couple of years in Korea, this was my first birdathon. To that end, I had planned carefully to stay ahead of the holiday crowds and emergency at work. What I did not account for was the inexplicable cancellation of the boat (even though the weather conditions were perfect!) to my planned destination. So within a matter of 15 minutes and a couple of phone calls, my ‘birdathon arena’ changed from Korea’s westernmost island to south-westernmost.

The sea crossing from Mokpo produced a loon sp. flying low over water, distant views of some tern sp. and a Kestrel flying over the boat. My birdathon started once I dropped off my bag at the minbak and headed out (with bated breath) at 1:08pm. Over the course of next 24hrs, I spent about 14hrs in the field (covering the main village and 2-gu) and spotted 75 confirmed species. The list is as follows:

1. Little Bunting – Most numerous bird during the period of stay

2. Red-throated Pipit – The 3rd most numerous bird species

3. Black-faced Bunting

4. White Wagtail

5. Grey Wagtail

6. Buff-bellied Pipit

7. Wood Sandpiper

8. Common Sandpiper

9. Straited Heron

10. Black-tailed Gull

11. Mongolian Gull

12. Temminck’s Cormorant

13. Pelagic Cormorant

14. Great Egret

15. Cattle Egret

16. Grey Heron

17. Brown-eared Bulbul

18. Black-winged Stilt

19. Sanderling

20. Temminck’s Stint

21. Tong-toed Stint

22. Terek Sandpiper

23. Barn Swallow

24. Red-rumped Swallow

25. Eurasian Sparrowhawk

26. Korean Bush Warbler

27. Yellow-browed Warbler

28. Asian Brown Flycatcher

29. Blue and White Flycatcher

30. Eastern Yellow Wagtail

31. Olive-backed Pipit – 2nd most numerous species (including one eating a skink!)

32. Asian Stubtail

33. Narcissus Flycatcher

34. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

35. Long-tailed Tit – Part of a wave coming off the sea at about 5pm consisting of about 2 dozen birds

36. Varied Tit – Very local with 1 individual seen carrying nesting material

37. Eurasian Siskin

38. Blyth’s Pipit – At least 3 birds seen in the quarry (including one taking a sand bath)

39. Dusky Warbler

40. Oriental Turtle Dove

41. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

42. Daurian Redstart

43. Japanese Whiteeye

44. Stejneger’s Stonechat

45. Japanese Waxwing – A group of 27 birds perched on the same tree

46. Light-vented Bulbul

47. Siberian Blue Robin

48. Ashy Minivet

49. Brambling

50. Bull-headed Shrike

51. Japanese Bush Warbler

52. Taiga Flycatcher – Close views of a cracking male

53. Citrine Wagtail – Seen both in 1 and 2-gu

54. Chinese Grosbeak

55. Common Snipe

56. Blue Rock Thrush

57. Dusky Thrush

58. Pale Thrush

59. Black Woodpigeon – About 10 birds in all (2 in 1-gu, 1 on the road to 2-gu and 7 on the trail from 2-gu to 3-gu)

60. Little Egret

61. Tristram’s Bunting

62. Yellow-browed Bunting

63. Great Tit

64. Eastern-crowned Warbler

65. Black-naped Oriole

66. Grey-streaked Flycatcher

67. Pacific Swift

68. Northern Hobby

69. Goldcrest

70. Radde’s Warbler

71. Sharp-tailed Sandpiper – Good views for close to 10mins as it fed a few feet from me

72. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler

73. Peregrine

74. Siberian Rubythroat

75. Grey-backed Thrush (spotted on the back trail from 2-gu to 3-gu at 1:03pm on 2nd of May)

The first few hours on the island was quite birdy, as was the following morning but since late morning of May 2nd, bird diversity and numbers were very poor indeed. There was conspicuous absence of certain families of birds like Starlings and others like thrushes were present in very low numbers. Other birds of note include close and prolonged views of a Japanese Grosbeak, a few singing White’s Thrush early morning on 3rd May, a Yellow Bunting near the main village, singing Rufous-tailed Robin, a couple of Chinese Pond-heron. On the morning of the last day, on my way to the 2-gu at the crack of dawn, I recorded a bird song that sounded interesting. Even after scouting Xeno-Canto, I was unable to find a species that sounds something like this . Any comment on ID would be very helpful. The return journey (with a boat-load of tourist led by a loudspeaker bearing guide enjoying a ‘remote’ island tour, a detour to Hong-do as the ferry bounced over the waves … along with the customary shrieks had a feeling of an amusement park ride) had no birds worth mentioning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.