Igidae, Busan, April 6-19

Bird News from Nial Moores

Japanese Robin 붉은가슴울새 © Nial Moores

Five visits to (and eBird Checklists from) this hilly wooded park in eastern Busan, on 6th, 12th, 14th, 18th and 19th of April. Much less well-positioned to receive migrants than Taejongdae to the south, this park has more accessible though even more densely-vegetated habitat.  Like other coastal parks, although heavily disturbed in parts the quieter spots in Igidae can still hold lots of interesting birds in the right conditions, including good numbers of super-skulking thrushes (including Busan-breeding White’s, Grey-backed and Pale and Japan-breeding Brown-headed and Grey) and robins.  At this time of year in Busan, as elsewhere along the south coast, “right conditions” mean: deep southwesterly winds to drift Japan-bound migrants northward; overcast skies with occasional rain or rain showers to keep dropping migrants near to the coast (and to reduce the number of human visitors!); and fairly limited visibility out to sea, to encourage birds to put off immediate departure. In total 72 species were logged during the five visits, including no less than eight with the prefix “Japanese” in most checklists still (happily, not so in the Birds Korea checklist, however!).

White’s Thrush Zoothera aurea 호랑지빠귀 at dusk © Nial Moores

A few of the more notable species / high counts included:

Black Wood Pigeon (“Japanese Wood Pigeon”) Columba janthina 흑비둘기. One heard crooning and seen briefly on 18th, followed on 19th by three: the original crooner and two together about 500 m to the south. This species is perhaps regular in Busan in April, with one record of over-summering and occasional autumn records too – most likely birds commuting between Ulleung Do where the species breeds and wintering areas to the south.

Black Wood Pigeon 흑비둘기 © Nial Moores

Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia 소쩍새. One heard on 18th.

Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus 할미새사촌. First on 6th;;  one on 12th;  three on 14th; and six on 18th. On 19th, an estimated 120 were found in three flocks and in several much smaller groups (with one of these flocks possibly containing Ryukyu based on calls). This is the highest count at this site; and the personal highest day count on the mainland.

Japanese Waxwing Bombycilla japonica 홍여새. One heard on 19th.

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus 솔새사촌. One heard on 18th. Although common along the west coast, rare in Busan.

Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides 사할린되솔새.  Three singing on 18th and one singing on 19th, with several possible in among the 15 calling Pale-legged / Sakhalin heard on the former date.

Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar philippensis 쇠찌르레기. Six on 19th.

Chestnut-cheeked Starling 쇠찌르레기 © Nial Moores

Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum 되지빠귀. Highest counts were 28 on 18th and 32 on 19th.

Grey-backed Thrush 되지빠귀 © Nial Moores.

Grey Thrush (“Japanese Thrush”) Turdus cardis 검은지빠귀. Highest count was eight on 12th.

Grey Thrush 검은지빠귀 © Nial Moores.

Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus 붉은배지빠귀. Three on 18th and six on 19th.

Japanese Robin Larvivora akahige 붉은가슴울새. Six on 12th; seven on 14th; four on 18th; and five on 19th, including one rather confiding male – which also unusually had a black chin.

Japanese Robin 붉은가슴울새 © Nial Moores

Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina 황금새. Two on 12th; three on 14th; one on 18th; and four on 19th.

Narcissus Flycatcher 황금새 © Nial Moores

Yellow-browed Bunting Emberiza chrysophrys 노랑눈썹멧새 One on 12th. Generally very scarce in the southeast.

Yellow Bunting Emberiza sulphurata 무당새. One probable heard on 19th.

Masked Bunting Emberiza personata 섬촉새 One on 14th.

Grey Bunting Emberiza variabilis 검은멧새. At least two on 12th, including one in adult male plumage.

And finally: For those with ten minutes to spare, please see an earlier post here on Igidae from a similar period in 2015 for an interesting comparison.

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