Hwaseong Flyway Network Site, August 4-7

Bird News from Nial Moores (Birds Korea) with Jung Hanchul and Park Hea-Jeong (Hwaseong KFEM)

The fourth in ten or so surveys of shorebirds and other waterbirds at the Hwaseong Flyway Network Site (FNS) as part of the EAAFP-Hwaseong City led project, with survey also of adjacent wetlands including parts of Asan Bay.  

Despite the seemingly never-ending rainy season, highlights included an extremely unseasonal Common Goldeneye, more than 11,000 shorebirds in the FNS, the first Curlew Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank of this year’s southward migration, and great views of three more of the Yellow Sea specials: Saunders’s Gull, Black-faced Spoonbill and Chinese Egret.

A few more details:

  • Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 흰뺨오리. A female-plumaged type bird was seen (and digi-scoped appallingly!) in Asan Bay on 5th.  This is the first summer-month record that I know of in the ROK of this widespread winter species, usually arriving here in late October. It is tempting to imagine that this bird might have been pushed down from some montane river in northern DPRK by flooding, as the species was documented breeding in such areas many decades ago.
Common Goldeneye, Asan Bay, August 5th © Nial Moores
  • Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus 뿔논병아리. Still a few birds remaining in breeding plumage in the FNS.
Great Crested Grebe, Hwaseong FNS © Nial Moores

  • Far Eastern Oystercatcher Haematopus [ostralegus] osculans 검은머리물떼새 (NT)  In the FNS, 623 were counted on August 6th, including at least 38 juveniles.
Far Eastern Oystercatcher, adult left, juvenile right © Nial Moores
  • Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii 큰왕눈물떼새. A maximum of three were in the FNS, including the first two juveniles of the year here.
Adult Greater Sand Plover with adult Mongolian Plover and Red-necked Stint © Nial Moores
  • Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis 알락꼬리마도요 (EN) Evidence of major departures, and the arrival still of a maximum of only four (stunning but rather clumsy) juveniles.
Juvenile Far Eastern Curlew, Hwaseong FNS © Nial Moores
  • Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 마도요 (NT). The steady increase in number continues, with 3,700 counted in the FNS on August 5th. A flock in Asan Bay contained one leucistic curlew.
Mixed curlew flock at the FNS © Jung Hanchul
Leucistic Eurasian (or Far Eastern?) Curlew, Asan Bay, August 7th © Nial Moores.
  • Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 붉은갯도요 (NT). An adult in partial breeding plumage in the FNS on the 6th and 7th.
  • Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos 아메리카메추라기도요. An adult on 5th in Asan Bay.
  • Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer 청다리도요사촌 (EN). Two (or three) logged on 7th. One probably present from 5th.
  • Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi 검은머리갈매기 (VU). A high count of 28 (including 17 juveniles) in the FNS, with 113 also logged in Asan Bay.
Juvenile Saunders’s Gull, Hwaseong FNS © Nial Moores
  • Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus 한국재갈매기. At least 450 massed in Asan Bay, with a great range of plumages – including brown-washed juveniles, worn juveniles progressing into First-winter, Second summers, and adults. The flock also contained a rather unseasonal Slaty-backed Gull.
Juvenile Mongolian Gull at Hwaseong FNS (on left) with adult Black-tailed Gull © Nial Moores. Already, the very broad white tertial fringe looks work and even perhaps a little ragged.
Mongolian Gull flock with worn sub-adult Slaty-backed Gull, Asan Bay © Nial Moores
  • Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor 저어새 (EN). A flock of 102 at the FNS, and several groups totalling 240 in Asan Bay on 7th.
“Romantic feathered dinosaurs”: Black-faced Spoonbills, Hwaseong FNS © Nial Moores
  • Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes 노랑부리백로 VU. Close encounters with a loose flock of 68 – including good numbers of juveniles – in the FNS on the 6th was the highest count.
Group of Chinese Egret, with single Little Egret (note the much longer tibia, or upper leg) © Nial Moores

A much more detailed report on the survey has already been shared with the EAAFP office, and is available to Birds Koreans on request.

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