Bird News from Matt Poll
On March 14th Jason Loghry came to town, and we visited a small temple in the hills near Jirisan. We found three gorgeous Hill Pigeons roosting in the temple eaves, two Brown Dippers, and a dingy Great Spotted Woodpecker ground feeding on a pine cone.
Japanese Waxwings were seen several times in March. On March 20th, I saw ten in a quick flyby on the river that leads to the bay, with two more seen nearby, the next day. On March 27th, seven were spotted in the company of some Dusky and Naumann’s Thrushes, at the sterile/baffling Suncheon Bay Gardens. I later got good looks at a diminutive tailless Long-tailed Tit.
On the morning of March 24th, Suncheon Bay’s Hooded Crane numbers were down in the low 400s (from a personal high count of more than 800 in mid-February), and I saw my first Barn Swallows of the year. Soon after, two Chestnut-eared Buntings were seen near the entrance to the touristy area. Five days later, while on a walk to the bay along the river, I spotted a Wood Sandpiper pacing a small flooded field, and got great looks at a confiding Japanese Wagtail. Near the bay, an oiled Red-throated Diver was paddling aimlessly on a small artificial pond.
On April 2nd, in a large field near the park, I encountered four Stejneger’s Stonechat (my first of the year), a Hen Harrier, and small groups of Chinese Penduline Tit, as well as Pallas’s and Common Reed Bunting still. On the 8th, small numbers of Intermediate Egret and Common Sandpiper were seen along the river, probably fresh in, while Barn Swallow numbers swelled daily. A Chestnut-eared Bunting and several Little Buntings were also seen. On an early morning trip to Bay on April 10th, the highlight came when I surprised a Eurasian Bittern at close range in a quiet reedy pond, and it hesitantly flushed, showing its spectacular tiger-stripe pattern well.