Bird News from Nial Moores (Director of Birds Korea) and Jung Hanchul (Gyeonggi KFEM and Birds Korea member).
Highlights of the 19th survey of these wetlands as part of the Hwaseong Wetlands Project included single Little Stint and Pied Harrier, two Oriental Pratincole, seven Whiskered Tern and rarest of all a near full breeding plumaged Black Tern (a species with fewer than ten national records, but sadly not photographed this time), calling as gaining height and flying south. We also found a new location with Ochre-rumped Buntings in territory.
As northward migration comes to an end, our survey found many fewer waterbirds than in any previous survey (just under 3,000), though these still included several globally-threatened waterbirds including 110 Far Eastern Curlew, 35 Great Knot and 3 Nordmann’s Greenshank, latter species on 26th only; as well as 58 Black-faced (and five Eurasian) Spoonbills, six Chinese Egret and an oversummering Oriental Stork. Among 29 species of shorebird, we also enjoyed good views of several breeding species (e.g., Little Ringed Plover and Common Redshank) and of some late migrants, including 185 breeding-plumaged Terek Sandpiper and four Curlew Sandpiper. Most frustrating was scoping a possible Spoon-billed Sandpiper on both the 26th and 27th, too distant to identify with any level of confidence.
The surveys we have conducted for the Wetlands Project, led by the EAAFP Secretariat and funded by Hwaseong City, have confirmed beyond any doubt the outstanding international importance of these wetlands; and preparations are now well underway to designate some of the FNS as a nationally protected wetland conservation area and perhaps as a Ramsar site. All the same, the colony of more than 100 pairs of Little Tern found in mid-May has already been abandoned, presumably because water levels in the Reclamation Lake were heightened by managers; and in addition to last year’s nesting site of the Nationally Endangered Ochre-rumped Bunting being bulldozed sometime before April, even the newly-discovered area is also even now threatened with being ploughed under.