Hwaseong Wetlands FNS, November 17th and 18th

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

On 17th, in exceptionally mild but dull conditions we found 93 species in total. On 17th, dawn saw a flight out of roost of >54,000 geese and the discovery of a Pied Avocet, initially trying to hide in amongst Mallard but which was later joined by five tardy Black-winged Stilts; a search of several thousand Aythya on the main reclamation lake revealed at least one Ferruginous Duck (<10 records annually), along with one hybrid; while overhead migrant landbirds included a group of eight Red Crossbill and 15 Light-vented Bulbul.

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta 딋부리장다리물떼새 © Nial Moores

Further counts along the shoreline and adjacent wetlands turned up a single pale morph Upland Buzzard, two White-tailed Eagle; and two Scaly-sided Merganser (apparently a first record for this site).

Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus 호사비오리 © Nial Moores

On one pond a Whooper Swan with a thick neck collar (indicating a back-pack, more or less hidden at rest); 45 gorgeous Ruddy Shelduck (out of a day total of almost a thousand); and several Eurasian Spoonbill and Northern Lapwing feeding close-by. 

Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus 큰고니 © Nial Moores
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea 황오리 © Nial Moores
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia 노랑부리저어새 © Nial Moores
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus 댕기물떼새 © Nial Moores

The afternoon high tide – a massive one of 9.5m – brought in over 100 Saunders’s Gulls and three lingering Far Eastern Curlew; and the evening added a lone Oriental Stork (one of apparently 105 found in the past week or two in the ROK, this via Dr Kim Su-Kyung) – and off in the distance a juvenile-type Black-winged Kite – perhaps the third record here of a species with fewer than 20 national records. Geese flocks returning to roost as night fell on the lake contained five or more calling Lesser White-fronteds.

On 18th, in continuing heavy overcast and warm southerlies, dawn started with more goose counts and the Oriental Stork again, calling Eastern Water Rail and two singing Bluethroat, and overhead several Pallas’s Rosefinch.

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana 황새 © Nial Moores

In rice-fields, a Merlin was in pursuit of a flock of at least 260 Lapland Longspur; and a Chinese Grey Shrike was perched up on wires. The afternoon was quieter – with time spent helping with a documentary (the third one being filmed here currently!) – with an ID challenge provided by a very pale-below Peregrine Falcon, suggesting a far northern origin: calidus or ‘northern’ japonensis?

pale-below Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 매 © Nial Moores

Since late June, as part of a project funded by Hwaseong City and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, we have now counted over 114,000 waterbirds of 106 species at this site (with another 100 or so landbird species too). We have also found 19 of these waterbird species in concentrations of 1% or more of population. Simply stunning.

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