Hwaseong Wetlands Flyway Network Site, August 24-26

Bird News from Nial Moores with Park Heajeong (Hwaseong KFEM) and Jung Hanchul.

Three more days of survey in sweltering summer heat, with a minimum 7,166 shorebirds counted within the Hwaseong Wetlands FNS and 9,418 shorebirds counted within the Asan Bay Reclamation Area, despite access restrictions . The first obvious signs of landbird migration, the growing number of juvenile shorebirds, a single Eurasian Eagle-owl trying to catch the afternoon breeze, and one or two Asian Dowitchers were the obvious highlights.

Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo © Nial Moores

New waterbirds for the project in the FNS, started in late June, were Garganey (8) and Northern Pintail (2) and single Ruff and Black-headed Gull; with one or two Asian Dowitcher in the Asan Bay Reclamation Area also the personal first this autumn. We also found the project’s first Brown Shrikes (2), Stejneger’s Stonechats (c.5) and Eastern Yellow Wagtails (10-20) of the autumn.

This survey marked the arrival of juveniles of several species. Although all of the Mongolian Plover are adults, starting to moult from breeding into non-breeding plumage, the first juvenile Grey Plover, Eurasian Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Great Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Red-necked Stint were seen, and the number of juvenile Far Eastern Curlew increased from 1 or 2 two weeks ago to at least 40, even while the number of adults continued to fall.

Two of the 2,500 adult Mongolian Plover Charadrius mongolus counted during the survey © Nial Moores
Juvenile curlews: Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis above and Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata below © Nial Moores. Note the intense saturation and the more heavily patterned underparts of the Far Eastern; and the much paler, plainer look of the Eurasian, with much of the underparts (including the belly) washed through with weak, progressively paler buff, with only the undertail coverts looking clean white.
Juvenile Great Knots Calidris tenuirostris, towered over by an adult Eurasian Curlew and Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola © Nial Moores
From the towering to the tiny: adult-type Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis surprisingly already in non-breeding plumage (most adults still showed extensive traces of breeding plumage) © Nial Moores.

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