Bird News from Robin Newlin, Socheong-do, May 2-5


Quite a crowd of us went out— I met up with Mr. Im Kwang Wan at our usual pre-dawn Paris Baguette; we motored to Incheon’s boat terminal and met our frequent (not frequent enough!) cohorts-in-birds Mr. Jo Seong Sik and Ms. Kang Ji Hye; we were then joined by Mr. Kim Seok Min, leading 15 members (apologies: I failed this time to take down names) of the Sae Sa I Bird Club—a marvelous group which combined good cheer and humor with a serious and careful approach to birding. The following report contains mostly my observations, with some other birds that I happened to hear about.

rdc socheong AP9F8196Socheong Island ©Robin Newlin

rdc 2nd sib blue AP9F8526Siberian Blue Robin Larvivora cyane ©Robin Newlin

The boat from Incheon was delayed by fog; we got to Socheong in mid-afternoon. I saw one (presumed Streaked) Shearwater out the window. Under still-foggy conditions, a general sense of small numbers, with mostly single digits of Mugimaki, Blue-and-White (2 females among 6), Yellow-rumped, Streaked, and Asian Brown FlycatchersDaurian Redstarts; Chinese Grosbeaks (c. 9);White and Grey WagtailsBrown-eared and Light-vented BulbulsOlive-backed and Buff-bellied Pipits (very few), Eurasian Kingfisher (3); Pale-legged, Dusky, Korean Bush, Eastern Crowned and Yellow-browed (perhaps 20, more often heard than seen) Warblers; Stejneger’s Stonechat (only a few seen the whole trip); Grey-backed, Grey (3; 1 female), Pale (c.30) Thrushes; Chinese Blackbird (2); a briefly singing Oriental Cuckoo; Black-faced (12), Meadow, Tristram’s, and Little Buntings; a few Eurasian Hobbies; a couple of Siberian Blue Robin; Siberian Rubythroat; Rufous Tailed Robin; Asian Stubtail; calling Northern Boobok and Oriental Scops Owl.

rdc blue n white AP9F8429Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana ©Robin Newlin


rdc rt pipit AP9F8609Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus ©Robin Newlin

May 3 brought chilly winds and morning fog. At the lighthouse: a Eurasian Hoopoe, an Eyebrowed Thrush, a Blue-and white Flycatcher; then star of the trip: a Marsh Grassbird, first found by Kwon Chan Soo then seen by many others within the next few minutes and following. As birds sometimes will be in the fog, it was perhaps a bit more tame, even showy (chasing insects) than its usual wont. Also at the lighthouse: a Striated Heron, a Brown Shrike, an Eyebrowed Thrush, 3 Oriental Honey Buzzards, a Japanese Sparrowhawk (once unsuccessfully pursuing a pipit), a Black-browed Reed Warbler, a Siberian Blue Robin, a few Blue-and-whites and one Mugimaki Flycatcher, a Chestnut-eared Bunting, a few Barn and one Red-rumped Swallow, and small numbers of Yellow-throated and Black-faced Buntings and Yellow-browed Warblers. One Red-throated Pipit augmented the few Olive-backeds and Buff-bellies. Splendid looks at a Northern Boobok discovered by JSS as it rested in a path-side tree.

grass marsh AP9F8177

Marsh Grassbird Locustella Pryeri ©Robin Newlin

rdc marshgrass AP9F8188Marsh Grassbird Locustella Pryeri ©Robin Newlin

unnamed-17Minsmere? Cape May? No: Socheong! (Photo by Jo Seong Sik, ©Jo Seong Sik)

rdc boobok AP9F8264Northern Boobok Ninox japonica ©Robin Newlin

May 4 was also cold and quite windy. Few new species: a few Black-naped Orioles, some Eurasian Siskins, a Black-crowned Night Heron, a few Narcissus Flycatchers, a Cattle Egret, a Chinese Pond Heron, a couple of Ashy Minivets, a single Red-flanked Bluetail, a few Chinese Sparrowhawks, 2 Red Crossbills (seen by JSS and KJH). Nice views of 2 species of cormorant on the rocks, some sitting on eggs. Cormorants are surprisingly elegant fliers, especially on updrafts.

rdc bulbul AP9F8231Brown-eared Bulbul Hypsipetes amaurotis ©Robin Newlin

y rump AP9F8647Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula Zanthopygia ©Robin Newlin

rdc 2nd yb warbler AP9F8238Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus Inornatus ©Robin Newlin

May 5 before the boat added in particular a Bluethroat seen by KJH and a small flock of Chestnut-flanked White-eyes (multiple observers, not including R.N.). As in the previous days, birds were not particularly vocal—perhaps waiting that turn in temperature that spring will eventually bring.

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