Bird news from Nial Moores, Baek Seung-Kwang and Lee Su-Young
Research and discussion continues in support of the internationally important Yeoncheon Imjin River Biosphere Reserve and Yeoncheon County. Birds Korea’s focus, much as last year, remains on improving understanding of habitat use by the globally Endangered Scaly-sided MerganserMergus squamatus and additional riverine and river-side biodiversity. Reports and a paper (currently still at draft stage) will present much fuller details of this work later this year.
During this 5-day period, in unseasonally mild (warm even) conditions, we conducted three whole day counts along the length of the Imjin River in Yeoncheon County; a one day count along the Hantan River; and spent a half day in the CCZ followed by a 2.5 hour field consultation with Dr Yoo Miyeon back at the Hantan.
In spite of massive disturbance caused by active drills (including heavy hardware in a couple of stretches of river and up to three helicopters overhead for an hour or more at a time), we again found Ramsar-defined internationally important concentrations of the very easily-disturbed Scaly-sided Merganser – with most birds in pairs and strong indications of rapid turnover (based on individual differences in plumage of some individuals, and different numbers within preferred areas during each of the three counts); widespread Mandarin Duck; >2,000 Baikal Teal (revealing several of their behavioral “secrets”) ; good numbers of both Red-crowned and White-naped Cranes watched spiralling up high before departing northward; and decent numbers of other early spring migrants, including several large flocks of Rook with a handful of Daurian Jackdaw mixed in, several flocks of 50-100+ Rustic Bunting (and at least two Little Bunting), and a scattering of Naumman’s Thrush, Long-tailed Rosefinch and Siberian Accentor.
Counts will continue on through March (and the rest of the year) led by Birds Korea Yeoncheon.