Hooded Cranes and more in Suncheon Bay, October 29-30, 2020

Dr. Bernhard Seliger, Dr. Choi Hyun-Ah (Hanns-Seidel-Foundation Korea, Birds Korea), with Doug Watkins (EAAFP), Vivian Fu (EAAFP), Kang Na-Ru (local researcher) and Dr. Hwang Sun-Mi (Officer of Suncheon)

On October 29-30, we had a very productive seminar generating ideas for connecting Suncheon Bay Ramsar Site with other sites on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, in particular in DPRK (North Korea), organized by the city of Suncheon, Ramsar Regional Center, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership and Hanns-Seidel-Foundation Korea. With the support of two wonderful local bird experts, Kang Na-Ru and Dr. Hwang Sun-Mi, we also enjoyed watching the roost of the Hooded Cranes and thousands of other shorebirds and ducks in the evening and early morning. Highlights include around 750 Hooded Cranes, one Common Crane and one White-naped Crane each, 4 Whooper Swans, at least 26 Eurasian Spoonbills and additionally 16 more spoonbills (either Eurasian or Blackfaced), an Osprey, hundreds of mallards and spot-billed ducks, pintails and Northern Shovelers, plus hundreds of buntings and finches using the hillsides along the coast for migration.
Suncheon Bay has one of the most spectacular views of all remaining South Korean coastal wetland sites. Hopefully, it can be maintained and even improved in the future – fortunately, some form of rehabilitation of former wetland sites transformed to solar panel areas has already began. With this, and its successful eco-tourism concept, Suncheon can become a role model for more sites along the flyway…

The spectacular view of Suncheon Bay © Bernhard Seliger
Hooded Cranes Grus monacha roosting in the tidal flat area – 750 were counted that morning, with figures wildly fluctuated while some of the birds arriving leave again for Izumi in Japan © Bernhard Seliger
Hooded Cranes Grus monacha flying to the rice fields around 6.30 to 7 a.m. © Bernhard Seliger
A flock of Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia – at least 26 were seen on the morning of the 30th © Bernhard Seliger
A groups of waders wading… Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia in the last evening light © Bernhard Seliger
Chinese grosbeak Eophona migratoria in the “Wetland garden park” of Suncheon © Bernhard Seliger
A Varied tit Sittiparus varius close to the Suncheon bay bird observatory © Bernhard Seliger

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