Bird News from Bernhard Seliger and Thomas Findeis
After participating in the UNESCAP-Environmental Research Foundation DMZ habitat survey,Thomas Findeis, a noted expert on the former inner-German border (the so-called Green Belt, the largest European biotope network with more than 1300 km in length) and me took the time on February 5th and 6th to visit Goseong County for discussing habitat development and potential in the East Coast region of Korea.
The first stop brought us to Ganseong South stream (Namcheon), where we could observe overall 16 Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus (Korea Natural Monument 201-2). Also, we could find there Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus, Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, Great Egret Ardea alba alba, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Mallard Anas platyrynchos, Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, Greater Scaup Aythya marila, Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, Eastern Buzzard Buteo japonicus, Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus, Rufous Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis, White Wagtails Motacilla alba lugens, Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis, Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus, Vinous-throated Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus, Eastern Great Tit Parus minor, Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica, Tree Sparrow Passer montanus, Eurasian Magpie Pica pica and Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos. But the highlight was certainly that a Eurasian River Otter Lutra lutra (Korea Natural Monument no. 330), swam through part of the stream and jumped over a small dam, before disappearing in a hole well-used as witnessed by the number of tracks there.
Early next morning we went to Chodo harbour near Daejin. We saw a White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (Korea Natural Monument no. 243-4), Red-breasted Mergansers Mergus serrator, and, quite near the harbour, three Harlequin Ducks Histrionicus histrionicus. There was a constant movement of birds more far from the shore, but these could not be identified. On various small islands in the sea large colonies of cormorants could be spotted.
In Hwajinpo, we saw around 100 Tufted Ducks, Greater Scaups, Eurasian Coots Fulica atra, Common Goldeneyes each, plus Smews Mergellus albellus, and three White-tailed Sea Eagles, among them one obviously a youngster. Lots of smaller birds were in the reed bordering the lake, among them Vinous-throated Parrotbills and Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus.
Crossing North stream (Bukcheon) of Ganseong, we could see four more Whooper Swans. Finally, in Seongjiho, we saw another two White-tailed Sea Eagles, plus a group of 30 Common Mergansers Mergus merganser. Too far on the lake to see exactly the species, was a group of maybe 200 to 300 ducks.
Seven White-tailed Sea Eagles in one morning was a nice result! The unique landscape of Goseong with the sea, the mountains and the near border make it an interesting and also beautiful spot for birdwatching!