Bird News from Nial Moores, Jason Loghry and Ha Jung Mun
As part of research both for Birds Korea’s report (Status of Birds, 2014) and a report on the conservation of forest birds in Gangwon Province with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, we took a three day-trip starting from Busan. On July 30th, JL and NM visited the coast between Busan and Ulsan; the Guryongpo Peninsula; the river at Yeongdeok; the Jukpyeon headland north of Uljin; and the headland at Imwon. Joined by HJM on July 31st, we then hiked the trail up Seorak Mountain, from the Hangyerang Services at about 820masl to the shelter, just below Daecheongbong, at about 1600-1650masl. Apparently a White-throated Rockthrush has been heard along this trail this summer. On August 1st, we visited Sangwon Temple in Odae Mountain National Park, counting birds from a moving car along the road, before birding around the temple complex at about 900masl. We ended at Gangneung (birding the small, degraded and highly-disturbed but still bird-rich Namdaecheon Estuary) and the coast to the south of the city, where a Lesser Frigatebird had been seen a week before.
Most notable species included:
- Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. Two, believed to be this species, were seen by JL near the peak of Seorak Mountain on July 31st. There are very few summer-month records of this species known to Birds Korea.
- Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus. One (perhaps a juvenile as it appeared to show extensive white on the crown sides) was seen a little distantly perched and then in flight behind Sangwon Temple, Odae National Park, on August 1st.
- Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola. One probable seen (NM only) on Seorak Mountain on July 31st. There are very few summer-month records of this species known to Birds Korea.
- Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis. One flying south over the sea off the Guryongpo Peninsula on July 30th and four south over the sea off Gangneung on August 1st.
- Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes. In total, probably 10-15 were seen and heard along the coast on July 30th with another 3+ at Namdaecheon, Gangneung, on August 1st.
- Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres. One at Namdaecheon on August 1st.
- Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta. One at Namdaecheon on August 1st was loosely associating with 15+ Red-necked Stint and three Dunlin.
- Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus. Two at Namdaecheon on August 1st.
- Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus. A flock of 171 off the Guyrongpo Peninsula was comprised mostly of adults, though also contained several early-returning juveniles.
- Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus. On July 31st, seen at three different locations along the coast in very small numbers (c. 10 in total). These follow on from four seen in Busan on July 26th (by NM).
- Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus. One, tentatively aged as a Fourth Calendar-year / Third-summer, was at the Guryongpo Peninsula on July 30th. This species is seldom-reported in the ROK in the summer months.
- Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus. Two together flew south off Busan on July 30th.
- White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus. Two or three were near the peak of Seorak Mountain on July 31st.
- Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes. A total of c. 15 were observed near the peak of Seorak Mountain (a known site for this species) on July 31st. At least two fairly-young juveniles were present, with one diving clumsily through and under vegetation (and artificial structures) as it feasted on grasshoppers and other insects.
- Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis. One was seen on wires by the main road on Guryongpo Peninsula on July 30th.
- Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus. Probably two were singing near the peak of Seorak Mountain on July 31st.
- Radde’s Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi. 4+ were heard in song near the peak of Seorak Mountain on July 31st.
- Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus. A total of 12 were heard or seen on Seorak Mountain on July 31st and five were heard and / or seen in Odae National Park on August 1st, including one watched singing vigorously from the top of a conifer.
- Two-barred Warbler Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus. A total of 19 were heard (and 2-3 seen) on Seorak Mountain between 1100 and 1500m. None were heard in the small area of Odae National Park (lying at about 900m) which we visited on August 1st. This remarkably high number on Seorak Mountain, counted along only about 8km of trail, suggests that this species is likely a locally numerous summer visitor to steep-sided forested mountain above 1100m in Gangwon Province.
- Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes. A total of 26 were heard (mostly calling) on Seorak Mountain on July 31st and six were heard (and one or two seen) in the small area of Odae National Park we visited on August 1st.
- Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus. Although only one was heard on Seorak Mountain on July 31st, a total of 47 singing and calling birds were counted along the road (which follows a stream) to and around Sangwon Temple on August 1st.
- Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris. Two were seen on Seorak Mountain on July 31st and one was heard near Sangwon Temple on August 1st.
- Japanese Robin Larvivora akahige. One, probably a female, was seen briefly on Seorak Mountain on July 31st (NM only). This is the first summer-month record in the ROK known to Birds Korea.
- Siberian Rubythroat Calliope calliope. Probably three (or four) were heard singing near the peak of Seorak Mountain on July 31st.
- Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus. One was seen on Seorak Mountain on July 31st (JL only). This is the first summer-month record in the ROK known to Birds Korea.
- Tristram’s Bunting Emberiza tristrami. A total of perhaps four or five (heard and seen at three different parts of the trail) were seen on Seorak Mountain on July 31st, and a family party (including at least one and perhaps as many as three juveniles) was seen near Sangwon Temple on August 1st.