Hwaseong Wetlands, August 14~15

Bird news from Subhojit Chakladar

2 days of birding in the important wetland habitat of Hwaseong in the wonderful company of Prof Todd Hull, Dr Soyoung Sung and Prof Jiwone Lee, with a guest appearance by Dr Nial Moores.

Starting at close to dawn on 14th, we had the chance to see a nice mix of shorebirds as the incoming tide pushed birds ever closer to the road. There was a group of 24 Black-faced Spoonbill, more than 150 Whimbrel, equal numbers of Far-Eastern Oystercatcher and Ruddy Turnstone. A mixed flock of curlews with Far-Eastern Curlew being in majority along with Eurasian Curlew were feeding in deeper waters as smaller shorebirds like Common Greenshank and 5 Broad-billed Sandpiper fed close to the edge of the water. There were also good numbers of Lesser Sand Plover and Kentish Plover feeding in the mud closest to the road.

Moving to a different spot, we came across large numbers of Great Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Terek Sandpiper feeding on the receding tide along with smaller numbers of Common Redshank and a single Red Knot. On the other side of the road, in more brackish habitat, 10 Red-necked Phalarope was seen by TH, SS and JL while I came across a calling Von Schrenk’s Bittern, a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying overhead, 4 Eurasian Skylark and oddly a group of 4 Tundra Bean Goose and 3~4 Greater White-fronted Goose (these species are normally winter visitors).

Later in the afternoon, driving along some rice fields further inland, we came across singing Zitting Cisticola, some Wood Sandpiper, a mixed flock of Barn Swallow and Sand Martin, a hunting Common Kestrel and large number of Cattle Egret.

As sunset approached, we moved to the brackish area near the road where the highlights included 2 Asiatic Dowitcher and a Pectoral Sandpiper (thanks for Dr Moores for pointing them to us) along with Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Sandpiper, 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and 2 Long-toed Stint.

Whimbel, Numenius phaeopus and Mongolian Gull, Larus vegae mongolicus
Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus and Red-necked Stint, Calidris ruficollis
Though its difficult to make out at this level of zoom but there are at least 16 species of birds in this photo. Can you recognize them?
The mudflats at sunset

Next morning, starting at dawn at the brackish area, we came across more or less the same species as seen the day before. The only new bird of the day was a non-breeding plumaged Ruff.

A casual look at the mudflats reveal nothing of interest as seen in this picture …
Until you look at it through the scope …. when it comes alive with activity!!
A very poor video of one of the Asian Dowitcher, Limnodromus semipalmatus. Its the bird feeding actively in the front row amongst the resting Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia

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