Bird News from Nial Moores
Occasional visits to local wooded areas in eastern Busan provided evidence of a good diversity of breeding species, though all proved extremely hard to see well in the dense undergrowth and heavy canopy. Breeding species confirmed or suspected by month’s end included Japanese White-eye and Vinous-throated Parrotbill (with some begging juveniles of the latter species fed wild mountain strawberry); tits (with fledgling Eastern Great, Varied and Coal all seen well, and Marsh glimpsed); woodpeckers (with family parties to date only of Grey-headed and Japanese Pygmy seen, though both adult Great Spotted and White-backed have also both been present); and three species of thrush. Grey-backed Thrush calls and song were heard through until at least mid-month; several (5-10+) Pale and one White’s Thrush were seen food-carrying, former from beginning of the month and latter from mid-month, with juveniles of both seen from the 22nd. Several Yellow-throated Bunting families have also been seen, and on the 29th, in addition to one nest with begging chicks, several extremely vocal Black-naped Oriole were watched, each holding food for five minutes or more, perhaps trying to entice their young to leave the nest (?).
Throughout the month too, two or three Black Kite have been seen in the east of the city (showing a wide variation in moult state); Common Cuckoo has also been present and vocal; and probably two full-tailed male Black Paradise Flycatcher have also been singing at one site, with at least one of these apparently paired up with a female. An additional species of note was a presumed Eurasian Eagle-owl heard in the late afternoon of the 22nd.
While woodland is deep in summer, the sea suggests that autumn is on its way. The flock(s) of Pacific Swift was reduced to a half-dozen birds on the 22nd with no birds heard or seen on the 29th. Moreover, a minimum of 2,930 Streaked Shearwater were counted in a single partial scan of the sea on the 19th, when also one “dark shearwater” was seen, though too distant to ID to species. On 20th, probably 80 Streaked Shearwater were seen moving north per hour, but by 22nd there were only a dozen or so birds blogging offshore during 30 minutes of observation. On 28th, a steady stream of birds was again seen moving north in the late afternoon and based on a couple of 10-minute counts, there were probably 450-500 hours passing per hour. Numbers were again much reduced on the 29th, with only 45 counted blogging. It is unclear where these large numbers of Streaked Shearwaters visible off the Busan coast come from. The closest known colonies are in Ulleung County and in Jeollanam Province, and also off northern Kyushu in Japan. A satellite-tracking program, however, showed at least one / some birds along our east coast came from a breeding colony in Iwate Prefecture, on the Pacific Ocean side of northern Honshu!