Deokjeok Island, May 12th

Bird news from Subhojit Chakladar

A day trip to Deokjeok Island to look for migrants. Visiting after a period of about 2 years, the bridge connecting it to neighboring Soyado is now complete and blocks part of the trail that was part of my “usual circuit”. So I decided to follow a different route. The weather was pleasant and even though the temperatures midday were in the higher twenties, there was a consistent wind. A total of 56 species were observed with Rufous-tailed Robin being the most dominant bird in the undergrowth and Black-faced Buntings being abundant in the open areas. Phylloscopus warblers were represented by mostly Yellow-browed Warblers with a few Eastern-crowned Warblers and a single Arctic Warbler. There were a lot of Mugamaki Flycatchers along with Grey-streaked and Asian Browns. I encountered 2 groups of Eye-browed Thrushes and singles of White’s and (a rather late) Dusky Thrush. 6 species of buntings were encountered including large number of Tristram’s Buntings, Yellow-browed Buntings (which based on past experience normally peak in early May), a couple of Chestnut Buntings and singles of Chestnut-eared and Little Bunting (without a tail).

However, the undoubted highlight of the trip was a Japanese Night Heron which was seen at midday along a shaded ditch. It flushed and perched on a tree a few meters away. However, very soon it flew deeper into the forest. I searched for it in vain for the next hour but it was not found again. Japanese Night Heron’s are passage migrants through Korea. My previous encounter with this species in Korea was about 7 years ago on Weiyon Island. That time it was past sunset and I didn’t have good views. I was also lucky to seen this species in the Philippines where they apparently winter in small numbers. However, running into one is always a wonderful experience.

Japanese Night Heron
Rufous-tailed Robin

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